Year 10 students at Katoomba High School will have the chance to make new community connections to support their personal development as part of a mentoring program with Scenic World staff.

The pilot program, established through Scenic World’s CSR program Scenic World Shared, connects high school students with Scenic World staff volunteers to provide students with additional support as they navigate the complex transition to adulthood.

Mentors meet with students over six weeks to discuss their challenges and successes in a relaxed environment, while mentors – many who attended Katoomba High School – provide guidance on a range of topics such as goal setting and career planning.

Mentors also draw from their proven experience to help young adults develop life skills such as resilience, leadership skills and improved decision making capabilities.

Katoomba High School acting principal Emma Le Marquand said the program was positively received by students who appreciated having someone to turn to as a trusted friend in the community.

“We know that young adults don’t necessarily hear as clearly when speaking to authority figures in their lives and research shows there are incredible benefits of having engaged adults who are willing to focus their attention on a young adult,” she said.

Ms Marquand added that year 10 was a particularly difficult time of life for young adults who have to make decisions about their future at the tender age of 15.

“The sense of responsibility can be overwhelming for young people who are negotiating their home and school lives while dealing with new responsibilities.

“It can be easy to make bad decisions as a young adult and it’s really wonderful to have the opportunity to talk to successful, grounded people who can help them work through areas of confusion and uncertainty which can be crippling for young students.”

Scenic World Rides Team Leader Bern Sokol said the program had exceeded the expectations of staff who enjoyed developing meaningful connections that will have a lasting impact on the lives of young students.

“Having the opportunity to be part of a young adult’s personal growth is a powerful thing,” she said. “It challenges both the mentor and mentee to explore new territory together, to reveal their vulnerabilities, and to grow in new and unexpected ways.”

“I felt honoured to participate in this program,” Scenic World Assistant Accountant Amy Martin added. “They are such a great bunch of kids and it’s nice to be able to have the chance to have a positive influence on our local students. It’s great to be able to give something back to our local community.”

Ms Le Marquand thanked Scenic World staff for their contributions and acknowledged the profound impact the mentoring program will have on local students.

“We’re so grateful to the mentors for offering their support in a deeply personal way and taking on the responsibility for a young person. It’s a very giving thing that is how strong communities are built,” she said.

The mentoring program, which is still in the pilot phase, pairs Scenic World volunteers with students for one-on-one mentoring sessions for six weeks. Sessions are one hour in duration and mentors are paired with the same mentee for the duration of the program.

Image caption (pictured from left): Demi Turner, Scott Atkinson, Simeon Murray, Lilli Woodland (front left), Jane Harper, Amy Martin, Mikayla Hickey, Scenic World Managing Director Anthea Hammon.