ATConnect All >

A Kokoda Track to Manhood

Kokoda rapids

Two Ambrose Treacy College students Jacob and Seb, and their fathers have just returned from the trek of a lifetime, walking 96kms along the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea.

The group was organised by Giovanni (Gio) Silanesu who coaches the boys at the Wests Rugby Club at Toowong and has initiated the “Road to Manhood”. His motivation behind the initiative is:
• about a link to a vitally important part of our history and the sacrifices that the men of the 39th and the AIF made on this incredibly difficult track and the benefits we all now receive.
• about letting the boys see their role models vulnerable and then showing them how we get through it.
• about ensuring that the process and the ritual of testing and teaching our young men how to be men, stays alive.

Gio said, “In all societies throughout the ages young men reach manhood by engaging in a series of tests with their male role models. This process teaches young men how to behave, have respect and to face adversity with courage and conviction. Doing this while honouring the diggers that defended our country seemed to be a fitting way for the boys to understand their place in Australia and to ensure that they make the most of the privileged life that they enjoy. It will be a very special Anzac Day this year I am sure.”

One of the unexpected surprises that we received on the track was the hospitality and kindness we were shown from the locals. In comparison to us they have very little in the way of assets but they afforded us a level of hospitality by singing and inviting us into their villages and sharing their fruit with us. This was something that for all of us stood out and is something that we can all learn from.

Distractions

One of the tactics we initiated to distract our weary minds from the gruelling track was to come up with nick names for the Dads. In an attempt to protect the innocent I will not name the dads but some of the nicknames were Breaking Wind, Broken Knee, Moses (for his ability to part the clouds on cue), The Hobbit, Sleeping Turtle Hidden Dragon.
On an emotional last night the fathers presented their sons with a gift to mark their remarkable achievement. One of the fathers, David, who has American heritage handed his grandfather’s Purple Heart to his son Lloyd, “We both had a cry and then watched the footy together.”

Thanks

“I cannot let the opportunity go by without thanking our Guide and now mate Dan Hogarth from No Roads Expeditions for his exceptional care and attention to our group. No Roads initiate many foundations to support the locals with medical and educational facilities and it is a credit to them.” Gio said.

Money Raised

The boys have also raised over $12,297 so far which is very close to their target of $15,000. The money raised is going to Mates4Mates who provide rehabilitation programs for current and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF). This charity was chosen by one of the boys. To help us to reach our goal please go to the everyday hero website

Should you be interested in finding out more about the Road to Manhood program please contact Giovanni Silanesu on 0412 547 768.