A music festival vibe marked the Reach Foundation's first large-scale Heroes Day workshop for teenagers in Ballarat.
Hundreds of year nine students from Ballarat Clarendon College and Phoenix P-12 Community College gathered at The Goods Shed for a day of music, talks and activities designed to help build social and emotional skills, motivation, self-awareness help them reframe how they perceive and face challenges in life.
Reach Foundation facilitator Bri Lalley said the event was a "catalyst for honest conversation".
"Year nine is a very pivotal and important year in high school," Ms Lalley said.
"In year seven and eight they're finding their way, in years 10, 11 and 12 they've figured out the way and it's time to figure out what life is likely to be like in the future, but in year nine so many young people get lost in who they are and who they want to be."
Former Melbourne Demons footballer, the late Jim Stynes, established the Reach Foundation almost 30 years ago to to inspire young people to believe in themselves and get the most out of life.
"We have gone out on the road with our Heroes Day workshops before and have been eager to get back out to the regions, but this is the first time we have been in Ballarat," Ms Lalley said.
"I think in every regional town the workshop is even more impactful in places like this where resources can be fewer. This really shakes things up."
Fellow facilitator Josh Robinson said the workshops were "a disruption to the norm" helping teens step out of their comfort zones and equipping them with the tools to deal with life's challenges.
The event is called Heroes Day not because of superheroes but because the focus is on the hero's journey theory that also applies in everyday life.
The hero's journey theory is taught at schools in English classes, where novels are studied through a hero who goes on an adventure, is victorious in a crisis, and comes home changed, but in the Heroes Day workshops the facilitators link the journey into real life and everyday situations.
IN OTHER NEWS
"This theory is in every book you read, every movie you see," Ms Lalley said.
The high-energy music festival style setting is a way to interact with the students at their level, and the facilitators match their energy to the pace of the day.
"We get them really hyper-excited to allow them to buy in to what it's all about, and when it's time to get more honest or emotional it's our job to bring them down to that level," Ms Lalley said.
"We use every single tool we have under the sun. Our role as facilitators for the day is to hold the energy that's needed and make sure the young people match that energy ... and ask questions they probably never really get asked."
Have you signed up to The Courier's variety of news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.