Trojan’s Trek on Lateline.

2014 was the first time Trojan’s Trek expanded into female veterans. We had a overwhelming response. The ABC’s Lateline programme was there to film it. Reporter, Ginny Stein; cameraman, Brant Cummings; presenter, Steve Cannane.

TROJAN’S TREK; THE FEMALE EXPERIENCE

On Sunday 21 September 2014, a gathering of 16 women and two facilitators met up in Adelaide to take part in a complete unknown. They were a collective of women who had been finding it tough to live a normal life due to ill health, physical injury or issues related to military service. Most of the women hadn’t met before and they were about to participate in a pilot program for Trojan’s Trek sisters.  This was to be a national, if not world first program, in recognition of various traumas suffered by women who have volunteered to serve their country in the Australian Defence Force.

The Trek is a 6 day outdoor experience in the North Flinders Ranges on Moolooloo Station. The women were based at the Blinman Hut, a small remote stone hut, yet adequately serviced with running hot and cold water and toilet facilities. To say that the women were anxious, would be a massive understatement as fear of the unknown and loss of control in a challenging situation are the enemies of most women, let alone women suffering.

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A set of sisterly virtues was adopted which in turn set the scene for the duration of the trek. That basic connection was made with each individual and holistically as a group. Every woman was individually supported and allowed to be themselves in a safe and secure environment with the knowledge that they could choose to discuss their personal story if they so desired. All had equal opportunity to “spill their guts of burden” and be no longer judged for a past that wasn’t their fault.  All took that opportunity in some way shape or form with support, validation and recognition that their story was worth telling. As a result, all felt no longer the need to carry the load that they had personally been holding within for a very long time.

To place a dollar value on the return of self-worth and empowerment is just not possible. To allow a woman to choose a release from a past in which she has been trapped is priceless! To show them that care and compassion can exist in such a raw and rugged environment is an experience that will resonate with them for life!  I know for a fact that there are now 16 women carrying a lighter load due to our week in the bush.  Sixteen sisters with spirit and new hope for change facing the future. It is a cause and awareness of the needs of service women which is long overdue. It has shown the way and given the participants the choice of “living versus existing”.

This program needs to continue and be funded accordingly for all of the reasons that I have stated above, no ifs or buts.  There is no price on saving a human life and empowering a person again with unity, purpose and cause! This is a very real issue and after all we are someone’s sister, mother, aunt and friend!

Anna Ventry-Sutcliffe

TROJAN’S TREK 2014, A FIRST FOR WOMEN VETERANS

This year’s trek was unusual in that it was the first time a women’s team had been included and the first such project run in Australia, perhaps the world. The decision was one carefully considered by the board and in the end it became obvious having gained the responses from a number of women that it was overdue and necessary.

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Overdue, because it was inequitable that they had been excluded to date; and necessary because it appeared that women’s needs are not considered different but lumped in with the male solutions when a separate approach was required.

One of the very useful outcomes from the male treks has been the strength of the relationships formed between trekkers. In some ways this is a side benefit from the trek, and although it was forecast to occur to some degree, the very useful and practical value of these friendships should not be underestimated. Predictably that would, and did happen among the women. However it was surprising to find that prior to the trek, many of the women lived a lonely life with few friends to share personal concerns. This was a contradiction to some conventional views regarding female habits, but on reflection it is reinforcement that women tend to “suck it up” and get on with things in spite of.

What additional aspects were necessary to cater for a female team? Should presentations be different, would the approach which had been used for the men work, could they swag it in the bush as the males had done, would the program content require review, what gender should the primary facilitators be, could it be funded and so on? These were some of the topics considered during the planning phase.

Did we get it right? Time will tell but initial assessments indicate it would seem so.

TROJAN’S TREK 2014 – REPORT FROM THE GROUND

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Introduction
1. Trojan’s Trek 2014 was conducted from 21 to 26 September on Moolooloo Station in the North Flinders Ranges. This facility has been used for the past five years, is a suitable location at which to base the trek and is a mobile ‘phone free environment. It offers a slice of early South Australian mining history and a remoteness which has an impact on the messages delivered. As one of the trekkers wrote, “being out here opened up and showed me the bigger picture in life.”

2. The trek which targets veterans from conflicts post 1980, was the sixth run to date. Until 2013 male only treks have been conducted, but this year the Foundation decided to conduct a pilot female version of the trek which would be run separate to, but in parallel with the male version. This has not been previously attempted because of financial limitations. With assistance from Health SA, Adelaide Rotary Club, RSL Care and the RSL (SA) the venture was made possible.

Aim
3. The aim of Trojan’s Trek is to provide a setting and conditions under which participants experience a lasting positive shift in personal values and interpersonal relationships.

Objectives
4. The objectives of the trek are to assist the participants, through group and individual challenge, achieve the following:

  1. an understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviour,
  2. exposure to various strategies which will bring about positive change,
  3. individual responses which are effective in achieving goals,
  4. improving interpersonal relationships, and
  5. enhance self-esteem.

Validation
5. In order to justify the program’s claims to successful outcomes, four standard psychosocial instruments have been administered since trek one in 2009.

They are:

  1. Life Satisfaction Scale (Hilda) for comparison with Australian normative data,
  2. Positive and Negative Interactions,
  3. General Perceived Self Efficacy Scale, and
  4. DASS 21.

6. These are completed on three occasions:

  1. prior to the commencement of the trek,
  2. Immediately following the completion of the trek, and
  3. two to three months later.

7. In some respects these instruments are repetitive, verging on annoying for those compiling, but efforts to identify more appropriate tools through the Psychology Faculty of UniSA and VVCS have not met with success. There are obvious benefits in maintaining use of the current measurements which can be directly compared with earlier data, therefore at this time no changes are predicted in the short term.

Longitudinal Study
8. An honours student from Uni SA has recently commenced a longitudinal study into the longer term impact on the trekkers after a 12 month period. Although the results from such a study will be of interest to the Foundation and staff, many factors outside the influence or impact of the trek may affect long term outcomes. There are in place strict guidelines governing personal identification and the use of the data to protect confidentiality.

Participants
9. Male. As in previous years final numbers were not confirmed until two weeks before the trek. This late but unavoidable as one of the base tenets of involvement is that the participants must volunteer to attend. Many of the male participants were lacking in self-confidence and had low self-esteem. It is true that the stigma surrounding mental health exist in the community, particularly for male members. It is therefore difficult to gain an early commitment to take part in an activity which may be conducted a long way from home and from which withdrawal is difficult once commenced. In addition, because participants will probably be unknown to each other, the course of least resistance can be failure to attend. No pressure is placed on any of those who wish to be involved. The profiles of those who attended were as follows:

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Following a request from VicAmb, two of their members were short listed to attend if vacancies became available.

10. Female. The response from the women was above expectation, both in rapidity and numbers. Nominations were closed at 16 which was more than the ideal number of 12. The willingness of the women to become involved in an Australian first was reassuring.

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Staff

11. Because the male and female teams would be separated, it was necessary to identify and train two suitable female facilitators to accompany and control the women. This arrangement would comply with the successful formula which had been used with the male team. The selection proved to be far from a simple task as the selected women would have to meet certain criteria which fitted with the concept and philosophy of the trek. The search took more than nine months to identify two suitable persons to accept the envisaged role. Given the non-scientific nature of the process, the outcome was most pleasing with two very committed and aware women taking on the role.

Team Composition

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 10.56.44 am12. It was decided that there was a requirement to station two suitable male members with the female team to provide information on local terrain and geography as well as providing muscle and advice where applicable. This was potentially a sensitive matter which was discussed with the female facilitators prior to a decision. As transpired the concept worked better than anticipated. Both male members were previous participants and met with universal approval in their role. However, it is important to realize that the role is sensitive due to many of the women harbouring negative thoughts on a male presence as a result of their background experience. Both members who fulfilled the role are to be commended for their sensitive involvement in the day to day achievements of the women but more importantly, for helping to re-establish a degree of male trust among the women. As summed up by one of the women, “thank you for making me feel safe and supported in my rawest moments, I will be forever grateful for your open heart, mind and warmth.”

Participant Identification

13. Because of the increase in the administrative workload involved in assembling and vetting two teams, the responsibility for coordinating the male and female teams was allocated to two previous trekkers. This task is time consuming and involves a significant degree of follow-up phone and email contact. The teams were very well coordinated by:

a. Male: Greg Hallam, and
b. Female: Mark Keynes.

Accommodation

14. Because 11 women and eight men were from locations other than Adelaide it was necessary to identify budget accommodation to cater for them in Adelaide. The males were accommodated in the Granada Motel on Portrush Rd and the women in the RAH residential wing. Both locations proved to be satisfactory although the women’s accommodation was reported as “noisy but safe.” Both locations offered suitable pick-up areas free of City Bay hindrances on the Sunday morning.

Hire Vehicles

15. Because of the state of the roads in the area of the trek, the use of 4WD vehicles is necessary. This mode of travel offers an additional benefit, in that during transit from one location to the next, it is the practice for one staff member to travel with three participants in each vehicle. This provides the opportunity for further discussion related to the presentation just concluded or in fact to any other issue which surfaces. And that happens so frequently the staff refer to the practice as moving in “mobile consulting rooms.” It also affords the chance to mix different individuals and staff with an aim to maximize exposure to others’ views. This has proved to be beneficial. This year a cheaper vehicle hire deal was arranged with Complete 4WD Hire and two vehicles were again kindly loaned by Pioneer Tanks of Norwood.

Program Delivery

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16. The program which was adopted for the female team included a number of presentations which are used for the male team. Subjects such as Communication, How the Brain Works and others were part of the list. Because of the generic nature of the subject matter and the honed skills of the male presenters, it was decided to use male staff for these presentations. However, because of the more static nature of the female team (located at the Blinman Hut) the sessions often involved the male presenter travelling up to 8 km to deliver. Although this may not sound significant it took the male facilitators away from the male team for periods up to 2 hours or more. The absences were manageable and did not appear to detract from the overall outcomes. However, it is a subject to be considered for future planning.

Selection

17. As previously indicated, participants are self-nominating. However, it is important to gain approval from their treating doctor to avoid including individuals with the potential for self-harm or pose a danger to the staff. This was achieved as part of the nomination process by the submission of a form signed by the participant’s doctor.

Organization

18. The organization for Trojan’s Trek 2014 was:

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Note. For all except the arrival and departure nights, the participants and field staff including the Director spent four days and three nights in the bush. The staff numbers were satisfactory and the response to mentors was positive particularly from the women.

Visitors

19. Ginny Stein and cameraman Brant Cummings from ABC TV Lateline visited and remained with the group for approximately three days during which time material for an ABC TV program Lateline was captured. The program was aired on 10 October. Initial concerns regarding the visitors’ presence and a TV camera were quickly forgotten. Filming and questioning was handled sensitively by the ABC members who were well versed in the individuals’ issues and privacy matters. You can watch the report here.

Transport
20. Transport requirements for the trek were as follows:

  1. Two 22 seat buses to carry the two teams and one staff supervisor per bus to Moolooloo HS.
  2. Eleven 4 WD vehicles; two towing a covered and an enclosed trailer, and one towing an uncovered trailer. These were also used to transport the staff to Moolooloo HS. The vehicle with the enclosed trailer was dispatched 24 hours before the main body to allow for early preparations.
  3. At the conclusion of the trek, staff and participants returned to Adelaide in the 4WD vehicles.
  4. Discussion regarding the early deployment of some of the instructional staff was discussed following the trek. There are obvious advantages in having key presenters on the ground 24 hours prior to the trek commencement. This is a matter for further discussion.

21. The insurance excess which applies to hire vehicles in the case of accident remains a matter of concern. In spite of a payment of $33 per day per vehicle to reduce the insurance excess to the minimum in the case of accident, the excess remains at $2,500 (single vehicle accident) and $550 (multiple vehicles). No claims were necessary. There appears to be no way to avoid this exposure.

Purchases
22. For this trek it was necessary to purchase additional swags to cater for the female team. Fifteen swags were purchased at a total cost of $2380. This is expensive but unavoidable as swags cannot be hired. It also presents an additional storage issue.

23. A combined briefing for the participants and partners was held on 19 September at the RAR club in Linden Park. Partners were invited as past experience has shown that it is an advantage if the partners have some understanding of the veteran’s condition and the objectives of the trip. Interstate partners were not able to attend. Nonetheless, for those who did attend they reported it was a valuable session.

Location
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24. The trek established a base at Moolooloo HS Shearers’ Quarters which is 32 km NE of Parachilna on the Glass Gorge Road. The station occupies approximately 540 square miles of country which varies in type and relief from east to west. The distance to the area of the trek is approximately 520 km. Travelling these distances is time consuming and expensive in fuel, but the advantages in having no mobile telephone, television or radio reception more than offset the disadvantages of travel. A trip of this duration also permits the participants to get to know each other en-route. The feedback from the participants on the location is positive.

Publicity

25. A press release prior to the trek was issued through the RSL in combination with Lesley Johns Media. No calls were received in response.

Journals

26. The use of a period set aside daily to complete individual journals has proved to be an important element for participants. The journals are used to record personal responses to the various lessons of the day and to make general comment on the trek. This has proved to be satisfactory from the point of view of progressive comment and also provides an opportunity to collectively review and anchor the day’s lessons. Although these comments are qualitative they do represent the perceptions of the participants at the time and are not always strictly in accord with the quantitative measurements gained via the psychosocial instruments listed at paragraph 5. This is considered to be a limitation of the tools used to measure change.

27. The messages which are conveyed during the trek are related to relationships and behavior management. Simple subjects; but the style and method of delivery combined with the surroundings make the messages much more powerful. There is no doubt that the live-in nature of the trek when shared with other veterans is a significant factor in the success of the program.

Weather

28. On Tuesday evening 25 mm of rain fell on Moolooloo. This caused some creeks to run up to 400mm deep and delayed some aspects of the program, namely the combined male/female breakfast and session on Communications. In some individual cases it was a harsh reminder of the folly of sleeping too close to a water course. The time loss was absorbed by some program amendments which did not affect final outcomes. The frequency of rain in such quantity that time of year is most unusual but of interest and welcome.

Staff Debrief

29. On the last evening, a staff debrief was held in order to capture the immediate thoughts of the staff. A number of matters were raised which will be considered during planning for the next trek.

Internal Evaluation

30. On the last night of the trek a ’tick and flick’ survey was issued and completed by the participants. The questions were aimed at an immediate response to the trek and were primarily designed to gauge how the course was conducted, the efficiency of the administration as well as an opportunity to comment on the content.

Communications

31. Telephone. Mobile telephones do not operate north of Hawker which is approximately 88 km south of Moolooloo HS. Telephone communications were available via the homestead telephone to the outside world. This was in contrast to a previous arrangement which saw a telephone connected to the shearers’ quarters, (the base location) through close liaison with a CFS contact. This is preferred. This option will probably add to the costs in the future. A satellite telephone was available in the bush if an emergency arose. It was not used.

32. Radio. While in the bush, UHF CB hand held and vehicle mounted radios were used for communications on simplex. Duplex on Channel 3 is also available for contact at greater distances by UHF

Medical

33. A doctor was not available for this trip. The nearest fully equipped hospital is at Hawker, approximately 1.2 hours away. First line medical support was provided by an ex-defence force member who is now with the Victorian Ambulance service as a Para-medic. He arrived fully equipped with his own vehicle and equipment. He undertook training in CPR for the teams. A number of other staff are also qualified as senior first aiders. The longest exposure to the most serious risk was assessed as traffic accidents during the trip to and from Moolooloo. No medical or psychiatric issues arose.

Staff

34. The delivery of the male program and some aspects of the female program was the joint responsibility of the Chief Instructor Robert Kearney and civilian consultants Peter Keith and Andrew Badenoch. Additionally a number of female centric topics were presented to the female team by the two female facilitators, Connie Jongeneel and Anna Sutcliffe. Their collective credibility and insight made for interesting and varied sessions which carry a common message presented in a unique way in a different environment. This trek was again utilized to provide training for other past trekkers who are part of the succession plan. Two mentors were placed with the female team and one with the male team. All performed well.

35. In the opinion of the participants, the lessons and program outcomes appear to be more effective when delivered by a veteran as opposed to clinician in consulting rooms. This is completely in accord with the philosophy on which the trek is based; that is older veterans helping younger veterans. In other words, the tribal elders provide advice and encouragement to the young. This approach has been adopted over many thousands of years by other civilizations and in today’s society is adopted by alcoholics and gamblers.

36. The tenor of the week is relaxed yet highly focused on outcomes. This comes as a surprise to most of the participants whose expectations are for a course run along military lines. This is the antithesis of the practice.

37. The inclusion of two civilian experts provides a balance to the military presence. They deliver sessions linked to their expertise and are skilled in providing advice and encouragement in a form which is perceived differently to that provided by the veterans. The balance is fine but necessary to gain the confidence of the attendees. Both these members have been instrumental in providing follow-up advice which in a number of cases has resulted in job placement. The gains from their inclusion are manifold.

Follow-up

38. This aspect of the experience is important if the impact of the trek is to be maximized. It also would be beneficial if an organization with greater resources could become actively involved in follow-up. This year the Director of VVCS advised he would be present at the conclusion in Adelaide. Unfortunately, he was unable to attend at the last minute.

Future Issues

39. The topics which will need to be addressed in the short to mid-term period are:

  1. the interstate expansion of the program to QLD,
  2. the permanent inclusion of a female trek,
  3. whether the QLD operation will reduce the viability of the local product,
  4. succession planning to ensure that the management and style of the project is maintained, and
  5. the development of an achievable business plan to support the Foundation’s objectives.

Conclusion

40. There is no doubt that the isolation and the live-in nature of the trek are powerful catalysts in conveying opinions and promoting disarming honest comment from all concerned. Sustained by the opinion of strong anecdotal evidence, the trek was an outstanding success; this comment applies to both male and female versions. However, the realization that behavior affects relationships and behavior modification may offer an answer to an unsatisfactory personal life is just the start. In the opinions of the participants, they have universally achieved a number of goals and leave equipped to face the challenge. By their own admission, not only have the participants faced and discussed their problems frankly among the other attendees and staff, many have formed relationships which are based on personal and common problems.

41. For some this is the commencement of a long journey; understanding and further help will assist in their arriving at a better place. The real test will be to carry the determination into each individuals’ domain and anchor that in their lives. It is desirable that participants form a mental strong point to which they can retreat before consolidation and continuation. It is this aspect of the total picture which requires much greater external support and follow-up from existing supporting networks.

42. One of the discoveries which more than half of the group became aware of was that they and their families have lived through personal problems thinking they were alone in their pain and frustration. All of the participants exchanged email addresses and intend to maintain contact and provide advice and assistance to each other. This internal bonding is proving most valuable in their respective journeys.

43. Both the participants and staff believe that there is an ongoing role for programs of this nature for veterans. The principles may also be applied to other vocations. The trek may not suit every veteran but it is a valuable and effective adjunct to other treatment.

44. Further information about the Foundation and trek is available on the web site at www.trojanstrek.com.

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Lieutenant Colonel Moose Dunlop (Retd) OAM
Program Director

15 October 2014

Distribution: TT Board Members (8)
TT staff
Minister for Health SA
Minister for Veterans SA
CEO, RSL SA
CEO RSL Care SA
President Adelaide Rotary Club
Director VVCS Adelaide
Secretary of RARC, Ted Chitham MC

Join us for Veterans’ Support Walk! October 26th

Help Our Young Veterans
Supported by:
logos

 

INVITATION. Veterans and friends, here is an opportunity to directly support an initiative which assists younger veterans while enjoying a stroll around the beautiful River Torrens.

WHY. Not only will the event provide funds to ensure the continuation of this worthwhile project, it encourages regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.

WHAT. A 5km (approx) route which may be completed by walking, running or rolling. Families, prams, and pets on leash are welcomed.  Note incentives above for individuals and teams of five (5).

WHERE. River Torrens, directly north of the Torrens Parade Ground.

NOTE : Parking WILL be available on the Torrens Parade Ground.

WHEN. Sunday 26 October, starting at 0930

AFTER. BBQ, coffee and big raffle prize draws.

Registration: there are TWO ways to register:

1) Snail mail. Download this PDF form, print it and fill it out then mail it.

2) Register online. Use our online form to register and pay online using either credit card or PayPal.

The Trojan’s Trek Big Raffle

Here is your chance to gain a great prize and support a program which supports our veterans

1st prize. Travel for two on the “Sons of ANZAC” Battlefield Tour to Vietnam.

Total Value $8,000.

Donated by Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours with air travel provided by Singapore Airlines.

8 nights, 1-9 October.
2015 is the 50th anniversary of the deployment of the first Australian battle group to Vietnam. The prize is a special journey to Vietnam to tour the former battlefields and pay respects at a special commemorative service at Long Tan. Also on offer is an extension of the tour to visit the scenic and cultural sites of central and northern Vietnam.

2nd prize. Rank Arena 32″ LCD TV valued at $400. Compliments of Adelaide Exercise Physiology

3rd prize. $250 cash.

4th prize. Two packs of SA Parliament Select Wine valued at $100. Compliments of Michael Pengilly MLC

A 5th Prize of $100 has just been received from WOW Displays of Sydney, compliments of James Cassells the owner

RAFFLE WILL BE DRAWN OCTOBER 26TH, 2014.

Tickets are $2 each. To buy tickets online, click here.

First ever all-female trek now open for applications

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REPORT TO THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 4 JUNE 2014

Introduction
As Trojan’s Trek enters its sixth year of operations and completes the first since incorporation, it behoves me to highlight the key achievements since that day in 2008 when the concept of commencing a program catering for younger or contemporary veterans was floated.

Incorporation
The program was nationally incorporated in February 2013 as The Trojan’s Trek Foundation Limited. There are many advantages offered by incorporation not the least of which is the ability to apply for funding from various avenues which would not be otherwise available. The board currently comprises five directors and includes me as the company secretary and public officer. The treasurer is the other member of the administrative team but he is not a board member.

Activities
The Foundation has run one trek each year since and including 2009. The target is younger veterans and excludes other veterans. The reason for this is the facilitators have discovered that the programs outcomes are dependent to some degree on behaviour and life-style change which is much more difficult to achieve in old dogs. Having reported that, a number of Vietnam veterans have been included in past treks to their advantage. The ideal number of veterans for each trek is 12. Veterans from all three services have participated although Army make up 92% of participants.

To date, the treks have catered for male only participation but that will change this year with a pilot female version being run in parallel. This decision was made on the basis of equity combined with the awareness that stress illness is not gender biased. It is also a fact that women now fulfil many of the roles which only three years ago were male only. It would appear that this decision has been justified by subsequent female responses. Female fracilitators have been identified and will be trained prior to the 2014 trek deployment.

Staff
Currently ten staff members are used to run the program. Of these the three main facilitators are vital elements in maintaining consistent and effective delivery. Efforts continue with selection and identification of suitable staff to fulfil the succession plan. Two understudy facilitators will be assessed on the 2014 trek. All the staff from the chef to the general hands, from the cooks offsider to the drivers show initiative and are brilliant, compliant and compassionate.

Outcome Measurement
Since the commencement of the program in 09, the requirement to produce evidence based outcomes to justify expenditure and effort have been complied with. To that end on each trek, four standard psycho-social measuring instruments have been administered to every trekker on three occasions. These are; prior to commencement, immediately on conclusion and two to three months after completion. This provides the quantitative data for later analysis. In addition, personal journals are completed on a daily or more frequent basis progressively during the trek. These provide a good measure of qualitative gains, which are also important in the measurement of outcomes.

These results have been interpreted on two separate occasions. The first was done by the ACPMH following the first trek and a further study was concluded last year by UniSA. Of interest, the first set of results from ACPMH was inconclusive largely due to the inability of the contracted person to gather the completed instruments. Although in the interests of independent action this course is preferred, it did not collate the necessary responses to justify accurate findings. As a consequence the findings did not reflect the outcomes witnessed by the staff.

This was unfortunate and the ACPMH findings are sometimes quoted if a negative outcome is sought. The last Minister of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, adopted this stance. Since that experience all data collection has been accepted as a Trojan’s Trek staff responsibility. This has worked well with 97% of all forms and journals being collected.

The most recent study into the program outcomes was completed by UniSA in 2013. The results were released at the Australasian Military Medicine Conference in Dec 2013. The study established new bench marks for peer support programs of this nature, justifying our firm belief in the program value. The full report of both investigations is on the web site.

Longer Term Tracking
Although Trojan’s Trek is a circuit breaker with no formal follow-up process, UniSA have offered to conduct a long term follow-up of trekkers through one of their Honours student’s projects. The offer was accepted and that study was commenced in April. Efforts continue to involve other agencies in follow-up as reinforcement of the lessons learned will maximise outcomes. This year VVCS will be on hand when the trekkers return to Adelaide.

Affiliations
Trojans Trek has formed a partnership with the RSL in SA. This is seen as beneficial to both organisations. For Trojan’s Trek the involvement with an established brand is seen as a boost to status, and for the RSL, association with an organisation which is directly contributing to veteran’s welfare is a plus. Trojan’s Trek also retains good working relationships with a number of other companies and organisations. They are:

• RSL SA. Underwriters of the program
• Health SA. A major financial contributor until 2013
• Families and Communities SA. A major financial contributor
• RSL Care SA. A major financial contributor
• Adelaide Exercise Physiology. A major financial contributor
• Adelaide Rotary Club. A major on-going financial contributor
• Pioneer Tanks. Source of loan 4WD vehicles
• The Lion Hotel. Hosts information lunches at no cost
• Harvey Norman. Source of raffle prizes
• Battlefield Tours. Donor of the $8,000 raffle prize tour to SE Asia battle fields.
• RSL Sub Branches. Marion, Adelaide, Pinnaroo. Support for Sponsor a Trekker program
• Marryatville Primary School. Regular donations
• Generous Individuals and Corporations. Some have provided large donations

QLD Chapter
Approaches from sources in SE QLD to commence running the trek there have been received. The demand is present and providing the resources can be found in QLD the project appears feasible. Negotiations continue to identify a funding source in QLD. No detailed plan has yet been outlined apart from seeking to locate a suitable area for the trek.

Once that has been completed it is envisaged that the current staff would be involved in running the initial trek/s until it was determined that the QLD chapter could be accredited. The QLD chapter would then operate under the TT banner as a separate entity.

Financial Status
The foundation is in a sound financial position at the time of publication. Cash totals including the trading account and three term deposits was $142,000.00. The foundation conducted a fund raiser in Brisbane in March 2014 which raised $4,200.00. This will become an annual event. The SA operation will continue to be boosted by the Veterans’ Support Walk and major raffle which is run in October each year raising in the vicinity of $10,000.00.

Conclusion
The program is running well and provides valuable advice and assistance to veterans. The method of delivery is different and in many cases more effective than other means. The staff provide outstanding delivery and the results reflect that. Although the program does not provide follow-up support, most of the facilitators provide a welcome shoulder to the trekkers long after the trek has concluded. The female version to be run later this year will complete the suite of peer support to the veteran community in this form.

Moose Dunlop OAM

28 May 2014

SA RSL FORMS PARTNERSHIP WITH TROJAN’S TREK

The South Australian RSL today announced the forming of a partnership with Trojan’s Trek.

RSL CEO Sam Jackman said that RSL had decided that due to the excellent results which the program has achieved over the past 5 years in assisting young male veterans, the RSL had thrown their corporate weight behind the initiative.

In addition, she was pleased that the RSL was able to assist at a time of program expansion to include a parallel female program.

This is the second time this year the RSL has supported worthwhile local initiatives designed to assist contemporary veterans returning to life following combat deployments.

BRISBANE STOMP SUCCESS

Due to the efforts of, Mick Harding ex 6 RAR, (one of the 2013 trekkers) the Brisbane 2014 RAR Stomp for Support was held as a fund raiser for Trojan’s Trek.
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The efforts of Mick and his wife Bec and some of the stalwarts of the National Memorial Walk crew AKA Dad’s Army, were rewarded by raising in excess of $ 4,000.00. A good crowd gathered for a short service in Anzac Square which preceded the 13 km walk to Enoggera while rattling cans.

Read more about Mick’s story here