Some words from a Veteran Mentors Junior Leader

At Veteran Mentors, we strongly believe in what we do and strive to make a difference in as many lives as we can. Our Mentors have served and protected Australia in various war zones around the world. The battle they’re now fighting is one a lot closer to home and one that effects every-day Australian families on a daily basis. The Veteran Mentors mission is to help Australia’s youth break free of addiction to technology, self destructive behaviours and instil the same resilience and leadership qualities they they were afforded as soldiers.

In such a technology-obsessed and fast-paced world, cutting through to our teens is becoming evermore difficult, so spending 9-days detoxing from the ping of notifications and uncontrollable urge to disengage from real life in favour of a virtual one, is an ideal time for teens to reconnect with themselves, who they are and who they truly want to be, while learning from other young Australian’s who’ve seen more then their fair share of hardship.

We often have the chance to speak with our former participants about their progress, but having something like the following land in our inbox just reiterates that this work is important and we want to continue to lead our young people to a better place emotionally, mentally and physically.

Saira completed a recent Junior Leader Program and has since made amazing progress back at home. You can read more about her journey here, or read her statement below.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank the staff at Veteran Mentors for their time, dedication and patience that they gave. I attended the recent junior leaders camp in April and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. I was sent kicking and screaming onto the program because I lacked basic and essential skills needed to move through life such as respect, resilience and courage. Prior to camp, I suffered from severe anxiety and depression; going to school, social situations such as parties and even going to the shops was a challenge for me. This had a large impact on my social life and relationships with friends but mostly my family. I also spent a lot of time on my phone trying to fill that void of relationships through social media.

I want to express my gratitude to the Veteran Mentors staff for all of their help and teachings. I left the program a different person to the one who arrived. While having no technology or contact with the outside world was hard, it was amazing how quickly my platoon bonded and my section (section 4) began to feel like family. My section commanders Sir: Frenchy (Matt French) and Sir: Corey were absolutely amazing! They supported us through the good and the tough times as well as encouraged us to be and do our best at all times.

I learnt the importance of physical activity – how to perform it correctly and safely as well as the effects it has on the mind and body. Alongside this, we learnt about nutrition with cooking tutorials of healthy, basic meals from guest Health Man Mark. This was one of the key lessons I took away with me; I try and complete physical activity every day and when I got home I joined two sports teams which gave me the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and maintain a level of sport that makes me feel good without feeling pressured that I have too much on my plate or guilty that I’m not doing enough.

Over the nine days, I learnt respect for myself, others and things, courage, discipline, teamwork – within my section and the platoon as a whole, and resilience. This has served me upon my return home in rebuilding relationships, working with others; whether that be in a sporting environment or doing things around the house, respecting people and their views/opinions.

I found the activities and tasks to be engaging and though tough at times, very rewarding. This included everything from jumping out of a plane to making my bed every morning. Doing most things outside and limiting the amount of time indoors helped me reconnect with myself and figure out what I want in life and from people, and what I am willing to settle for.

Thank you Veteran Mentors for all your time, dedication and patience. It was an experience of a lifetime!! You have helped shape me into somebody I like and I am proud to be. I have met lifelong friends and experienced things I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise. The lessons I learnt whilst attending the program have and will continue to serve me in the future. What price do you put on that? I am forever thankful!

Thank you


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