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TROJAN’S TREK SOUTH AUSTRALIA SEPTEMBER 2022

Introduction

1. The 2022 SA trek was conducted for the first time at Alpana station from 18 to 23 Sep.  Staff deployed on 17 Sep to set up. This change follows the tenuous relationship with the new owners of Moolooloo, which resulted in finding a new base on Alpana. It marks the 14th year of running treks in SA. A reconnaissance of the new station was completed from 2 to 4 April 22 by 9 staff.  The program was rewritten to accommodate the new location.

Aim

2. Trojan’s Trek aims are to provide a setting and conditions under which participants experience a lasting and positive shift in personal values and interpersonal relationships.

Objectives

3. The objectives of the trek are to assist the participants through group and individual challenges, achieve the following:

• an understanding of how thoughts and feelings influence behaviour,

• exposure to various strategies which will bring about positive change,

• individual responses which are effective in achieving goals,

• improve interpersonal relationships, and

• enhance self-esteem.

Alpana

4. The station meets the program requirements, although the country does not contain places of general interest like Nuccaleena. However, it offers the following advantages over Moolooloo:

• 5 km south of Blinman town,

• Bitumen road access to the station,

• Continuous electric power generated in Blinman,

• Kitchen facilities superior to Moolooloo,

• Cool room available

• Hire rate negotiated to the same rate as Moolooloo, and

• Owners happy with our objectives

5. The Trek was advertised to include first responders such as volunteer firefighters, ambulance officers, and police officers who have been exposed to traumatic situations in the line of their duties.  It is the third time the Foundation has conducted a trek targeting first responders.  This was a change in approach to the previous practice when first responders were taken, but more by exception.

Attendance

6. Eleven trekkers and ten staff attended the SA trek as follows:

7. Four ex-military attended, and two Victorians made up the group to 11. The group included 4 women, an aspect which was an advantage in sharing what may be different male/female opinions.

Accommodation 

8. Keswick Barracks provided accommodation for interstate and out-of-town trekkers. This again worked well thanks to Paul Wilton the POC and the support of the Chief of Staff 9 Bde.  The following events impacted arrival times for those requiring accommodation:

a. The Overland train arrival was delayed by 5 hours due to a tree falling across the line at Bridgewater, affecting the two Victorians’ arrival time,

b. The ferry from KI was cancelled due to poor weather. The member affected decided to fly, which ensured his arrival in time to catch the bus, and

c. The City to Bay caused Anzac Highway to be closed on Sunday morning, resulting in a circuitous route to enter the barracks.

9. Despite this, all managed to catch the bus, which departed on Sunday morning at 0800 hrs. The bus was hired self-drive, driven by two volunteers.

Vehicles

10. Eight 4WD vehicles were required for the trek. This number is needed as the staff deploy a day early, and the vehicles which are used during the Trek carry all back to Adelaide.  Six vehicles were hired from Complete Ute and Vehicle Hire at 50% of normal rates, a deal that the Foundation has with the owner Rob Davey. Rob has provided this support since 2014, saving approximately $680 per vehicle hire. Two vehicles were also loaned at no cost by Pioneer Tanks. The owner Tim Harper has supported the Foundation in this way since 2015, saving approximately $7,000 over time. An extra driver was required to ferry one hire vehicle to Alpana. The driver returned to Adelaide on the bus.

11. One vehicle sustained a broken windscreen on the way up, and one tyre was damaged during the trek.

Program

12. The program is reviewed regularly to ensure relevant content. The messages conveyed during the trek relate to relationships and understanding cognitive strategies for behavior management.  A selection of topics, including How the Brain Works, Leaving a Legacy, Victim to Warrior and Communications were delivered.   The style and method of delivery, combined with the surroundings, make the messages much more powerful.   This is further enhanced by the group sharing personal experiences.

13. Daily journals also provide useful insight into the program’s power and how participants understand the content. The simple benefit gained from reconnecting with other sufferers cannot be overstated. This is in accordance with the philosophy of the trek, which is based on shared first-hand experience.

Victuals

14. The non-perishable food for the trek is collected over a 2 to 3-month period by the chefs. Cheap prices drive their purchases. In addition to those savings, the following are suppliers who assist the foundation from year to year, depending on their situation

a. 60 dozen eggs from Blewitt Springs Egg Farm, Don and Laura Fell,

b. $150 worth of fine meats from Holco, Duncan Booth,

c. 20 kg of potatoes from SA Potato Company,

d. 25 kg of sausages from Stirling Variety Meats, Chris, and

e. $20 voucher and a box of mushrooms from Hallett Cove Coles.

Weather

15. The weather during the trek was generally fine, except on Tuesday afternoon, a very heavy shower released 23 mm of rain in the area resulting in a wall of water descending the Wokerawirra Creek.

Water rushes down a dry creek bed during a flash flood.

Assessment   

16. Following the trek, the trekkers were sent a trek evaluation sheet which is enclosed. Their comments and ratings are combined on the enclosure.  In short, all benefitted from the trek through their own evaluations.

Goal Achievement Scaling (GAS)

17. This trek again saw the use of the evaluation system introduced in April 2021 as a pilot called Goal Attainment Setting (GAS).  The concept involves trekkers setting their own goals and also setting enabling goals to achieve the outcomes they want from life.  Goal setting is important for recovery because it can motivate the individual, particularly when they are functional and directly relate to real-life activities.  Its use will be retained.

Conclusion

18. The trek was successful in terms of feedback from those attending. The group worked well and quickly adjusted to the theme of non-judgemental in their discussions which were frank and honest.  As indicated earlier, four women attended as part of the group, and their presence enhanced the discussion.  Over the last three years, the mixing of gender has been adopted and has proved to be successful.

 

Moose, signature

 

 

 

 

 

Moose Dunlop OAM
Trek Commander
27 Oct 2022

 

Distribution:

TT Board Members
President RAR Assoc SA
Repatriation Commissioner
CEO RSL Care
Minister for Veterans’ SA
President CFS VA
Minister for Emergency services SA
Chief Officer CFS
SA Police Association for Mark Carroll
DC DVA Adelaide
Veterans SA
Catherine Hutchesson CFS VA
Member for Mayo
DGO3 Mt Lofty Group
Staff

Enclosure. 1:  Trekker Evaluation Combined