This is Phoenix. Phoenix is one of the Kokoda Kids from the 2021 Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge Youth Program. Sadly, he had to exit the program early as his family relocated cities, but that hasn’t stopped him from getting involved in the last phase of his KCYP journey! He has stayed in touch with all of the volunteer leaders and his fellow Kokoda Kids and is still committed to completing the community service requirement to be able to graduate from the program. Phoenix has been helping out at the local police and fire stations, and sending us photos along the way of his new life in a new city. We’re looking forward to seeing Phoenix again when he pays us a visit for graduation and we are delighted to see how far he’s come since the start of the program. Here’s Phoenix’s story:

What is your name and what KCYP team are you in?

Phoenix in May: So my name is Phoenix and I’m in the Gold Coast Kokoda team
Phoenix in October: Hi I’m Phoenix Lima, and I’m from Gold Coast.

What’s the date today?

Phoenix in May: It’s 2021, 27th of May.
Phoenix in October: It’s the 25th of October today.

What made you want to apply to this program?

Phoenix in May: Just something new and a need for a new adventure.
Phoenix in October: I wanted to do something new and I wanted an adventure and I got it! But I think I got even more than what I was asking for. (Producer: what else did you get?) Education, made really good friends that I would almost call family, and just so much more than what I was
asking for.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Phoenix in October: Very cheerful, helpful and I think I’ve also learned I can be a bit goofy in some ways.
Phoenix in May: very cheerful, funny (even though I can be annoying). Funny, cheerful and very helpful.

Why did you apply for the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program?

Phoenix in May: to get fit and healthy and gain a new knowledge about Kokoda.
Phoenix in October: (Producer: do you think you did that?). I have. I have definitely gotten fitter. I actually have muscles in my legs!
Except now I just need to even it out in other places [laughs]. And I have gotten a lot more knowledge about the whole Kokoda and everything that happened now. A lot more.

What is your biggest accomplishment in life so far?

Phoenix in May: made new friends, made a bond and also I knew nothing about Kokoda at the start, and now I know how really it was a big thing during World War II.
Phoenix in October: even though I knew I was going to make the 96km, I knew I was going to make it, but probably the greatest accomplishment is that we broke a record! But I never intended that, but that’s probably one of the greatest accomplishments.

What is the most important thing to you in your life right now?

Phoenix in October: just having a laugh and enjoying life.
Phoenix in May: just keep going with life, keep going forward.

What do you want to do as a career in future?

Phoenix in October: I don’t really know, but what I do know is that I’m going to keep going. I’m going to do whatever that appeals to me and hopefully on my journey, I’m going to find something that catches my eye. Although I don’t know what it might be, something will come.
Phoenix in May: I don’t really have much plans. But all I know is something will be waiting for me in the future.

What has been the biggest hurdle you’ve overcome?

Phoenix in October: mountains. I can do almost everything else. The mountains, for some reason, they hit me hard, but I focused on that. I’ve trained myself. And now they hurt me less.
Phoenix in May: going up tall mountains. I struggled, but I kept going.

Who is your best friend?

Phoenix in October: there is no one, everyone is my best friend, (producer: everyone in the program?) Everyone! Even if I hardly know them I’ll still call them a friend.
Phoenix in May: a best friend? Well, I don’t have a best friend, I have friends and that’s just my family at the moment.

How involved are you in the community and what do you do to give back to others?

Phoenix in October: I definitely give back for everything that the foundation has done for us, especially, the trip to Cairns. Like that was probably the greatest thing and I’d be very happy to give back and volunteer to help everything they have done.
Phoenix in May: I am pretty involved and if anyone is ever in a pickle, I always help them out!

What is the most amazing experience you’ve ever had in your life?

Phoenix in October: getting my butt out of the door! Even though, I like being out of the house, I’ve never left my area. I’ve never gone out of my comfort zone.
Phoenix in May: my most amazing experience; meeting these new people, learning about the Kokoda Campaign and all these great hikes as well as camp, that’s probably my greatest experience.

What advice would you give yourself a year from now?

Phoenix in May: keep pushing, that’s my greatest advice.
Phoenix in October: (Producer: do you think you’ve done that?) yep, and I’ll still keep pushing.

What has the program been like so far?

Phoenix in May: the program’s been great. Amazing. Really good.
Phoenix in October: well, I’ll say this now: it has been outstanding. Just wonderful, like 10 out of 10. Wonderful.

How do you feel about tackling 96kms & the peak experience trek?

Phoenix in May: I don’t feel anything now, but I do know for one thing. When I first heard about it, I was really excited to try and give it a go,
really excited.
Phoenix in October: 96? Just unbelievable that I’ve done something involving not sleeping in the night! And, sadly, no camels, but even better; donkeys! Just got really excited and yes, it was amazing. 96kms and the peak experience was just amazing, wonderful.

Do you think you have grown since the start of the program?

So much, just so much. I’ve grown so much from all this.