Students prepare for Kokoda
DIGGERS fighting on the Kokoda Track during World War II relied on strong leadership, teamwork and courage in their tough fight against the Japanese.
A group of Tweed students are hoping to gain some of the same attributes by taking on the 2009 Kokoda Challenge Youth Program (KCYP) this year.
Geoff Bonning, from Tweed River High School and Asher Jones, from Palm Beach Currumbin High School were among 45 students from the Tweed, Gold Coast and Brisbane selected to take part this year.
The students had their first fitness test last weekend, which Mr Bonning was as a lot of fun and left him looking forward to even more.
“There is a lot to learn from it; ethics, mateship, performance, discipline,” Mr Bonning said.
Their fitness assessor, Jak Carroll, from Southern Cross Uni said he was impressed at their fitness levels but had an ominous warning.
“A lot of pain is my prediction,” Mr Carroll said.
Before the students head to PNG and take on the real track in September they will compete in the 96-kilometre, 36-hour marathon that is the Kokoda Challenge on July 18 and 19.
“By the time you get to 20 hours your feet have just had enough,” Mr Carroll said, saying blisters had well and truly arrived by that time.
Before that lies weeks of training.
Ms Jones said the opportunity to visit Papua New Guinea was her moti- vation to apply for Kokoda Kids.
“I just want to go to Papua New Guinea, it will be a really humbling experience to see parents and their children living in a society where their priority isn't money,” Ms Jones said.
Kokoda Challenge Association chairman Doug Henderson said the young people would meet for training twice a week to take part in various activities including team building, night walks and weekend camps.
“The Kokoda Kids come from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, but all share the common element of being at a crossroads in their lives,” said Mr Henderson.
“Our program has been running for five years now, and revolves around the values of endurance, courage, sacrifice and mateship - which are embodied in the Kokoda legend.”