Boot camp builds leadership skill in Yangebup teenager

Solitaire Henry.
Solitaire Henry.

A YANGEBUP teenager got a different experience than expected when she was told she would be spending the school holidays on the Gold Coast.

Thinking she was going on a holiday retreat, 15-year-old Solitaire Henry was instead one of a select few who took part in a military style boot camp aimed to build discipline, resilience and leadership skills.

The nine-day Veteran Mentors Junior Leader Program couples ex-servicemen and women with children facing issues such as technology addiction, bullying and low self esteem.

Solitaire said while she felt angry, upset and emotional at first, she started enjoying herself after a few days.

“I have learnt that I am much stronger than I thought I was and I really feel like my communication skills have improved, especially as I now know that I can talk about my problems,” she said.

“Listening to the veterans just makes you want to help others around you to strive and keep going.

“There’s no point feeling sorry for yourself because there is always someone else who is going through more than you are.”

Afghanistan veteran and Veteran Mentors director Glenn Filtness said he and the team were passionate about using their military training to mentor and motivate young people to better themselves.

“We teach the children strategies and skills including mental and physical resilience, effective communication, conflict resolution and how to manage fear and stress,” he said.

The Veteran Mentors next program will run in December.

Visit www.veteranmentors.com.au for more information.