​Camp leader takes out Rural Women’s Award

Media Statement 5 April 2017

  • Camp Kulin program founder Tanya Dupagne has won the 2017 WA Rural Women’s Award for her contribution to WA’s regional communities Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan tonight congratulated Kulin community leader Tanya Dupagne on taking out the 2017 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation WA Rural Women’s Award.

The Rural Women’s Award celebrates the contributions and achievements of Western Australian women to the State’s regional economy and communities.

Tanya started the Camp Kulin program four years ago to support the wellbeing of young people in the Wheatbelt.

Tanya will receive $10,000 to complete a project or initiative that will benefit rural people or industries as part of the award. She hopes to build on the success of the Camp Kulin program by developing a subsidised camp for women from regional WA to develop leadership skills and promote change in their own communities.

The award is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and proudly supported by the Department of Regional Development, the Department of Agriculture and Food, the CBH Group, ABC Rural and Westpac Agribusiness.

Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:

“Women are really stepping up in the regions: consider the contributions of past Rural Women’s Awards winners like Kalyn Fletcher, who is using research and innovation to develop new crops in the North-West, or Catherine Marriott, leading the cattle industry on animal welfare and 21st century industry practices.

“Tanya Dupagne joins this prestigious group and I look forward to seeing Tanya continue to contribute to our regional communities.”

Finalist Profiles

Fleur McDonald

Fleur McDonald“I believe that the vast, physical distances can create isolation for women living with domestic violence. I want to diminish the myth that all domestic and family violence is physical and provide tools for women in remote and rural WA to improve their lives.”

Fleur is a published author, drawing inspiration from having lived and worked for much of her life on farms, more recently from her co-owned 8000 acre property east of Esperance. Fleur takes an active leadership role in her local community, including through the Committee of Farming Champions and the Bay of Isles Community Outreach Committee. As an active member with the Rotary Club of Esperance Bay, Fleur was the first female co-director of Prickle Farm, which is a major fundraising enterprise for the Club.

Project: A website would be developed to provide a hub of information, networking opportunities and support for victims of domestic violence living in rural areas of Australia. The website would act as a conduit to a wide range of health and community services, including from the Shire of Esperance. A member log-in area would provide users with safe and confidential access, connecting with other women using a virtual coffee chat-room approach. This would be integral in helping women to form new networks, support and friendships. Podcasts would also be available on the website, providing easy access to information on domestic and family violence and associated issues from trained professionals.

Tanya Dupagne

Tanya Dupagne“One person can’t change the world, but they can change the world for one person.’ That’s the ethos we adhere to at Camp Kulin. We want to make a difference to regional women one at a time and support them to make a difference to others across regional WA.”

Four years ago, Tanya moved to Kulin in the WA wheatbelt to start the Camp Kulin program having seen an opportunity with the Shire of Kulin’s underutilised recreational and community resources. Today, Camp Kulin contributes not only to the wellbeing of young people from regional and metropolitan WA but also to the local economy, with around 1,000 participants and 200 volunteers annually. A natural leader and problem solver, Tanya has also created a mentoring program to support children at two local high schools, providing mental health support in the absence of a school chaplain.

Project: Building on the proven outcomes of the Camp Kulin program, a subsidised women’s camp program would be developed to support women from regional WA. The program would help to develop essential life skills such as leadership, trust, self-confidence, and ambition for the women to build on in their day-to-day lives. It would involve an intense three-day camp where women would be able to experience the Camp Kulin activities. Support groups would be created via social media to enable participants to keep in touch and continue to build their skills. The leadership component of the program would equip women to take on leadership roles, bringing positive change to their own communities.

Alysia Kepert

Alysia Kepert“I am passionate about creating opportunities for young people to discover the diverse and rewarding opportunities open to them through the agricultural industry and the personal growth, satisfaction and sense of belonging that comes from connecting with rural communities.”

Alysia is a national leader in the field of agricultural education and she is committed to supporting the future of rural industries and communities. As a Curriculum Consultant in agricultural education at the WA Department of Education and as state and national President of the Agricultural Teaching Associations, Alysia is committed to bringing the world of agriculture into mainstream, metropolitan education. She is driven to inspire and develop young people, seeking out partnerships that lead to better outcomes in both rural and metropolitan WA.

Project: There is a distinct gap at the interface between the agricultural industry and school education system. The proposed agriculture education program seeks to address that gap between senior schooling and the agricultural industry by developing a matching service for work experience students in years 10 to 12 with careers in the agricultural industry. The work placement program would be particularly aimed at STEM students who have no prior experience of agriculture. By attracting bright students with high-level problem solving capabilities, it is hoped that a larger number of non-traditional student audiences will be attracted by agricultural studies and careers.