Remote youth couch surf for a cause

Article image - Remote youth couch surf for a cause During the couch surfing race.

A team of young people from West Arnhem has competed alongside others from the Northern Territory in a “couch surfing” event to raise awareness of youth homelessness.

A proud young team from Gunbalanya represented the West Arnhem region in the Northern Territory Couch Surfing event as part of National Youth Week in April.

Twenty-four teams from the Northern Territory participated in the couch surfing races in Darwin Parliament House car park, with the Gunbalanya team being the only remote community team taking part.

Designed to raise awareness about youth homelessness, the Anglicare NT Couch Surfing event was held on National Youth Homelessness Matters Day.

The West Arnhem team also received plenty of media attention throughout the week and featured on ABC News and the NT News.
West Arnhem Regional Council Youth Development Coordinator Sharna Cropley said part of the event is designing and decorating the couch for the big day.

“This year the young people decided to acknowledge all the partnering organisations, so they did a big ‘GUNBALANYA’ on the back and then had West Arnhem Regional Council, TEAMhealth, Adjumarllarl, and Anglicare written on the sides and front,” she said.
This is the fourth consecutive year the Gunbalanya crew has taken part in National Youth Week activities facilitated by Anglicare NT, with the young ones in the group chosen because they are either young emerging leaders or they have demonstrated significant improvement, with school attendance or completing diversionary programs.

Youth Week also included a visit to Leanyer Water Park, Crocosaurus Cove, bowling, movies and dinner at a restaurant.

They were also able to visit a range of services to increase their awareness and access to important services including NAAJA, North Land Council, CAAPS (AOD residential rehab service), Danilla Dilba (Aboriginal Health Service)and Headspace, and the group also visited the offices of the Royal Commission into NT Youth Detention.

A highlight throughout the week was a special visit to the Top End Aboriginal Bush Broadcasting Association (TEABBA) radio, where the kids went live to air.

Looking back on the week Brendan Minkulk said, “My favourite thing about this week was couch racing, listening to other services, and talking live on TEABBA Radio and Ten Pin Bowling. I’d like to thank the four sponsors. Thank you.”

Sharna Cropley said everyone in Gunbalanya is proud of the young group and what eveyone achieved throughout the week.

“The young people had a fantastic week – they all did really well at stepping up and challenging themselves. We are very proud of all of them.”