Teen heads for Kokoda Track
A COFFS Coast teenager will follow in his great uncles' footsteps when he walks the Kokoda Track this month.
Tyler Bellamy, 17, from Macksville is one of nine people between the ages of 16 and 22 selected to participate in the Kokoda Youth Leadership Clubs Challenge in Papua New Guinea on Saturday, September 27.
It's a personal journey for Tyler, whose two great uncles were killed during World War II while fighting the invading Japanese army.
“It will mean a tremendous amount to both me and my family to know I have visited the graves of my great uncles,” Tyler said.
“They were not much older than me when they went to Kokoda, and while I will be in some way walking in their footsteps, the circumstances of my trip couldn't be more different to that of my great uncles.
“I have been given a special opportunity, one I am determined to share with other young people when I get back home.”
With the costs of the trip covered by ClubsNSW, the challenge is designed to draw out leadership skills the participants may not be aware they possess.
ClubsNSW chief executive officer, David Costello, said completing the arduous 96km Kokoda Track is much more than simply a physical challenge.
“I expect Tyler will be called upon at several stages of the 10-day walk to inspire other members of the group who upon being faced with adversity, are contemplating quitting the trek,” Mr Costello told the Coffs Coast Advocate.
“Having met Tyler I know he will be up to the challenge.”
At the conclusion of the trek, the group will visit the Bomana War Cemetery, which contains the burials of more than 2000 Australian soldiers.