2013 – Cairns – Australia – Program

Conference Themes and program

Presentations and poster sessions will be grouped in four different themes:

A) Body Esteem & Physical Change

  • Perception of bodily changes
  • Reproductive health
  • Sexuality
  • Who has the responsibility for sexually transmitted diseases/infections?
B) Self-Esteem & Identity Formation

  • Healthy self-esteem and identity formation
  • Path into criminality
  • Pathways into drug abuse
  • Role of peers
  • Role of technology in identity formation
C) The Contexts of Change

  • Cultural
  • Family
  • Peers
  • Society
  • Institutional
  • Historical
  • Technological
D) Positive Futures: Ways forward

  • Developing supportive environments
  • Policy and program development
  • Innovation
  • Society
  • Evidence base
  • Institutional responses (e.g. educational, health, community services)

Abstract of presentations

ISTAR Program Booklet – download it here!

== Gun Rembeck ==

Young girls winding road to womanhood may be assisted by multisensory learning held at a youth health care centre – experiences from a Swedish context.”
Menarche is a unique marker of female maturation representing the transition from childhood to womanhood. Girls appear to have incorporated many of the prevailing cultural views of menstruation early in life. Unfortunately, most of these views are negative and they do not prepare her for womanhood. The message thus being that menarche is nothing other than a hygienic problem.
     The main idea is that girls need to be taken notice of and taught in early puberty. A teaching model designed for 12-year-old girls were developed based on broad and deep knowledge of the female gender and subsequently evaluated in a clinical trial. A nurse-midwife lead the sessions and met the girls as young women, not as school girls, focusing on the girls’ own thoughts and questions. Bodily ”signs” showing the girls that they have begun to develop into women are discussed using simple and concrete pedagogic aids. The teaching model used must be based on multisensory learning to be successful.
If the girls received a structured, interactive, multisensory, group learning education just prior to menarche it resulted in improved attitudes toward menstruation. Wanting to be an adult and liking that their body develops seem to be associated with a more positive feeling towards menstruation. Furthermore, mothers’ timing and ability to communicate attitudes towards menstruation and the body are as important as any other persons in a girl’s immediate environment.

Link to Gun Rembeck’s thesis from 2008.

== David Plummer ==

Masculinity and Risk: hyper-masculinity and the rights of passage to modern manhood
Modern society has brought greater opportunities for peer groups to play relatively greater and increasingly unsupervised roles in the lives of young men during the passage to manhood. At the same time social and economic circumstances have created pressures for adults, who previously played a central role in guiding and mentoring young people, to become less important in their lives. The increased influence of peer groups has a strong impact upon the codes of masculinity that many boys aspire to and plays a central role in policing which masculinities are considered acceptable. A potent combination of obligations for boys to act like real men and of pressures to eschew roles that have become discredited as soft, gay or feminine seems to be driving young men towards dangerous, risk-taking hyper-masculinities. The net outcome of these processes is for risk-taking, violence and crime to be increasingly seen as premiere ways of proving one’s manhood in front of those who matter most to boys: their peers. This paper will report on the findings of the 8 country Caribbean Masculinites Project and explore the relevance of these findings to masculinities on the global stage.

== Arne Rubinstein ==

The Missing Link, 21st Century Rites of Passage for teenagers.
Dr Arne Rubinstein has studied extensively the topic of Rites of Passage and Initiations around the world. All indigenous societies and communities would create a Rite of Passage for their boys and girls at the age when they reached puberty. Research clearly shows that the subjective well-being of 16 year old is worse than at any other time in their lives and this corresponds directly with the greatest period of mental health and risk taking issues.
     In this presentation Dr Rubinstein will clearly outline the elements that are found in all Rites of Passage and how we can utilize them in a modern context to support our boys and girls on the most important transition of all which is to young men and young women. He will discuss the programs he has created which have been run all over Australia and Internationally. Finally he will clearly outline the implications for both the individuals and the community with the inclusion of a properly run Rite of Passage.

== Amrita Hobbs ==

Growing up girls, and ourselves with passion and power
This topic is a passion that Amrita has lived and breathed since the early 90’s. Working with young people since 1976 it became clear that there was something missing in our culture. Amrita orchestrated residential ten-day Rites of Passage camps and watched as young folk transformed their sense of self. Amrita designs programs for girls aged 6 and upwards (and Initiation processes for women) with themes around feminine mysteries, growing up and the challenges therein. Like a butterfly emerging from the cocoon Amrita’s work encourages girls to fly. Through stories and shared experiences we explore the place of purpose of culturally appropriate and modern day Rites of Passage. Amrita will describe her work in her presentation.

==  Joey-Lynn Wabie ==

Rites of passage for Algonquin & Ojibwe female adolescents: the Berry Fast experience.
There is a paucity of modern literature available on the ‘Berry Fast Experience’, which is a rite of passage for Algonquin and Ojibwa adolescent girls. This thesis involved Algonquin and Ojibwa adolescent girls who completed their Berry Fast—a rite of passage embarked upon by the adolescent girls with the onset of menarche. The study participants also included the members of a Community Advisory Committee. The adolescent girls who participated in the study have chosen to revive a traditional First Nation rite of passage ceremony by completing the Berry Fast despite the negative societal attitudes that surround menstruation within mainstream society. Assimilation policies have also attempted to absorb the First Nations population into mainstream society, but have not succeeded. Using a modified ‘Photovoice method’, this researcher sought to elicit answers to four questions regarding spiritual aspects, lived experiences, life changes and the traditional First Nations’ views on ‘Moontime’ (menstruation). The results showed that the Berry Fast strengthened a connection to Mother Earth, Creator, enhanced their understanding of their traditional role as Anishnaabe Kweg (Aboriginal women), and culturally constructed a path upon which they follow. The study also developed a model for informal, traditional knowledge transfer.

== Elizabeth Gumbaketi ==

Young girls winding road to womanhood – what does the literature say?
Overall, all research tend to agree that reaching menarche is a significant milestone in girl’s development and transition from childhood to womanhood. Despite being a normal biological development process of maturity, almost all cultures have varied perception of menstruation. Apparently, the girl appears to construct her views of menarche and menstruation based on dominant cultural views of menstruation in which she is born into and nurtured. Unfortunately those views are largely negative resulting in low self-esteem, low body esteem and lack of self-appreciation across many cultures. This presentation will summarize the outcome of a systematic literature review of this topic.

== Robert Parker ==

“I have Stones in my Passway” (Robert Johnson). The emerging epidemic of intellectual disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Emerging data on a national and local level appears to indicate a significant rise in intellectual disability in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander youth. Reasons for this issue and solutions are discussed.

== Cheryle Partridge ==

A Holistic Approach to Bringing Anishinaabe Teachings to First Nations Youth in Canada
The storytelling method and illustrations of the Medicine Wheel are utilized to bring the ancient teachings to life for First Nations youth by enacting the teaching and learning paradigm that has taken place since time immemorial. We have been told our knowledge comes from our Elders and our ancestors or, through inter-generational teaching and learning, this is a re-creation of how these teachings have come from the past, to the present and are being told to the youth who are the future. Learning Objectives:

  1. Fostering pride in identity through the Teachings.
  2. Reinforcing the importance of Anishinaabe/Indigenous knowledge.
  3. Being role models for our children, grandchildren, communities and Nations.
  4. Connecting the past, present, and future through the holistic paradigm which includes the Spiritual, Emotional, Physical, and Mental/Intellectual aspects of selves as human beings.

==  Paul Robertson ==

The Transition of a Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) to a Child & Youth Mental Health Service (CYMHS): Working Towards a Developmentally Focused Mental Health Service for Young People making the Transition to AdulthoodWith a focus on youth mental health Victorian Government mental health policy lead to Eastern Health CAMHS (Melbourne) being redeveloped to become a 0-25 year service (CYMHS) in 2010. This presentation looks at the experience of change within the service focusing on the effort to provide a developmentally appropriate model of mental health care across the transition from adolescence to early adulthood. Theoretical, organizational and clinical aspects are discussed.

== Dr Robert Quentin ==

Preventive Health: How to develop well being and happiness in our children using tried and simple meditation and compassion development techniques
Recent development of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imagery has allowed the changes in brain to be studied in much more detail over the past decade. The brain has been found to change with practice in a similar way to muscle change with exercise. Training in compassion expands the brain circuits involved with this characteristic. Practising Mindfulness Meditation slows the mindless chatter activity in the brain and strengthens neural growth in circuits that bring a sense of peace and wellbeing.

Many educational institutions are starting to use this methodology in their training programs with great benefit to not only the students but to the school environment. United Nations agencies have supported such activities. This presentation details these developments.


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