The Kokoda Challenge Guide for School Coordinators!

06 Feb 2023
School Team Photo at Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge 2022


Have you heard about the Kokoda Challenge and want to get your school involved, but don’t know what the next steps are? Then this is the guide for you!  

The Kokoda Challenge events are the perfect way to create community spirit in your school whilst providing students with lifelong lessons. Our team-based events are designed to push teams to their mental and physical limits, with students achieving things they may not have thought were ever possible. All the while, your students will learn about Australia’s war history through keeping the spirit of Kokoda alive.
So, what are you waiting for?! Check out the steps below to get your school involved in the Kokoda Challenge.  


STEP 1: Understand what the Kokoda Challenge  is all about  

The Kokoda Youth Foundation (KYF) which is a registered Australian charity that has been operating since 2004. Our primary activity is to provide free youth programs to support young people aged 12-18 in reaching their full potential. Our programs provide opportunities for young people to learn skills and personal qualities that assist when facing challenges in life such as self-belief, tolerance, teamwork, purpose, discipline, and leadership.

Our mission is to change lives though the spirit of Kokoda.  

The Kokoda Challenge itself is the hardest team endurance event in Australia and can be a life changing experience for competitors. To successfully participate in the event, it is imperative that teams understand the commitment involved. 


STEP 2: Present a pitch to your principal

After learning a little more about the KYF and the Kokoda Challenge, it is important that you brief your colleagues about the event and get their support. We recommend that the following information is included in your brief:  

  • Registration and fundraising costs 
  • Allocation of time for training and team meetings 
  • Outline of how this event can build your school’s community spirit 
  • The schools’ commitments 
  • The commitment of parents 
  • Travel arrangements for participation in the event  
  • Alignment with the school curriculum 
  • Discussion of target grades and how many teams you would like to enter  
  • The recruitment processes  

*HINT! All of these points are covered extensively in our event handbooks. We recommend reading the relevant handbook to help you prepare for the events. Click HERE to access the event handbook page.  

Need a quick overview of the up-front costs? Please check them out below!  




















STEP 3: Engage with your school community and create interest (students and staff) 

Sometimes it can be challenging driving interest for a new initiative for your school, especially when it involves the word ‘commitment’. We suggest framing the challenge as a life-changing experience for young people and their friends as well as for staff. Through the event, you will deepen your friendships whilst achieving your own personal goals and milestones. Participation and training for the event has been found to have positive affects not only on physical well-being, but also on the mental and emotional well-being of participants.  

To help you create interest in the event, check out our engagement suggestions below!  

  • Play a video about the Kokoda Challenge at your school assemblies 
  • Have your school sports coordinator work with you to create interest in the event
  • Include announcements about the Kokoda Challenge in your morning roll call 
  • Incentives for participation (ie, spending more time outside of the classroom) 
  • Talk about how participation in the event helps a Gold Coast charity 
  • Talk about the history of Kokoda and how participation in the event is paying homage to Aussie diggers
  • Discuss the benefits (improving well-being and over health, great extracurricular activity for seniors to have on their CV’s, spending time with friends, giving back to community)  

STEP 4: Hold an information night

Now that you have created interest in your school community, it is time to hold your first information session! The information night should include all interested students and their guardians as well as staff. Assume that those attending know nothing about the Kokoda Challenge and will need a great deal of information delivered to them before making their decision regarding involvement.  

We recommend covering the following points in your information night:  

  • What is the Kokoda Challenge 
  • What is the Kokoda Youth Foundation and why are they running the event  
  • Events available for participation (distances and locations)  
  • Course maps and expectations  
  • Training
  • Fundraising
  • Student commitment
  • Parent commitment
  • Required gear
  • The schools’ commitments
  • Travel arrangements for participation in the event 
  • Alignment with the school curriculum (see HERE for an outline)
  • Registration and fundraising costs
  • Benefits and why students should participate!  

To help you run your information session, feel free to contact us to speak with the events team. Below are PowerPoint Presentations for you to use at your information night.

Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge

Brisbane Kokoda Challenge

Sunshine Coast Kokoda Challenge

STEP 5: Confirm and register teams 

Confirming and registering teams can be one of the more difficult tasks when it comes to participating in the Kokoda Challenge due to the administrative work involved. To save time, we suggest that team captains do NOT add in members until their teams are 100% confirmed. This will save coordinators and captains from having to make changes to teams (this process can be quite time-consuming!).  

Schools can either be invoiced for all their teams or team captains can pay the up-front registration fee whilst registering teams. Be sure to discuss the payment option you are going with with your team captains. 

Check out the tips below to help you successfully register your teams: 

  1. Share the step-by-step registration guide HERE with all team captains prior to registering
  2. Have the team captain register their own team (please note that email addresses can only be used ONCE, so you cannot register multiple teams under the same email)
  3. Add in team members once 100% confirmed  
  4. Be sure your captains know the promocode KOKODASCHOOLS if you want to be invoiced for your teams
  5. All students must activate their accounts once invited into a team. We advise that coordinators organise a time with students to activate their profiles during school hours to ensure this is done (please note that emails may go to spam or junk folders).  


STEP 6: Start your training and fundraising! 

Now it is time for the fun stuff!  

When it comes to training, we recommend that teams train all together when possible. This allows the team to understand each other's limits and helps to form dynamics. You can find training guides in the event handbooks HERE.  

The fundraising element is often the most rewarding part of participating in the Kokoda Challenge. Getting your teams and school together to raise funds can stimulate a sense of community like no other. It also offers students the chance to brainstorm and have fun whilst giving back to a local charity. Teams also can be awarded our most prestigious cup through fundraising, the Bruce Steel Kingsbury VS Fundraising cup! If you are stuck for ideas, check out our fundraising guide HERE.  


Thank you for your support! 

Why not test yourself in Australia's toughest team endurance event?