Kokoda Challenge 

Youth Program (KCYP) 



The KCYP is a life skills program for 14-16 year olds, affectionately known as our ‘Kokoda Kids’, who come from all walks of life and every segment of society. It is a program available to all young people who are seeking direction and motivation to succeed.  We passionately believe there is no difference between those who are expected to fail and those who are expected to achieve – except for opportunity and the right support.

The KCYP is 9 month program that involving weekly training sessions for the first 6 months to prepare for two major peak experiences designed to challenge and change participants - both phsyically and mentally.  This is followed by 3 months of fortnightly volunteer service days to give back to their local communities.

Woven through the program is the history of the Kokoda Campaign of WWII and draws on inspiration from our Australian Diggers who faced insurmountable odds and achieved what no one thought was possible. All young people in the KCYP are mentored in harnessing the same qualities displayed by the Australian soldiers: Courage, Endurance, Sacrifice and Mateship, otherwise known as Kokoda Spirit.

Applications for the 2023 Kokoda Challenge Youth Program are now closed. Please register your interest in the 2024 program below:


All Expenses Paid Experience

At the Kokoda Youth Foundation, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential! Therefore, the KCYP is an all-expenses paid program aimed at providing today’s youth with a life changing experience. From entry into the Kokoda Challenge events, to the unique cultural experience in Malaysia, our Kokoda Kids, leaders and families are ensured that this program does not come at an expense.

The experience of a lifetime


As a part of the peak experince, our 'Kokoda Kids' will venture all the way to Malaysia to embark on a unique cultural experience. You will trek the Sandakan Memorial March, which stretches 91 kilometres over 5 days through Borneo. Over the course of this trek, you will learn about the atrocities that occured in this area during WWII where many Australian and British soldiers were held as prisoners of war.

This trip also includes a visit to an Orangutan rehabilitation centre where around 60 to 80 orangutans are living independently in the reserve and approximately 25 orphaned orangutans are housed in the nurseries. Lastly, you will conclude your adventure with white water rafting down the Kiulu River, an adrenalin filled thrill that you'll certainly never forget!

A group of trekkers from the Kokoda Youth Foundation under the Stannary Hills sign during their pack donkey trek
Two Kokoda Kids stopping for a photo at checkpoint 1 along the 96km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge course

While on the trip, the Kokoda Kids and leaders alike will be pushed to their physical and mental boundaries, achieving things they may have never thought possible!

Each and every day entails different challenges and experiences, meaning all kids will have to work effectively with their team to achieve their common goal. Throughout the experience, many skills will be learnt that the kids are encouraged to take home and apply to their everyday life. This experience leaves our Kokoda Kids feeling as if they have achieved the almost impossible. Many say that after their peak KCYP experience, their perspective on life and way of approaching different challenges is changed.

It is not only the Sandakan trek that leaves our Kokoda Kids with a new perspective, but it is also the skills and mindset they achieve through participating in the 9-month program itself.  Our Kokoda Kids graduate the KCYP knowing the meaning of the 4 pillars of Kokoda, Courage, Endurance, Mateship and Sacrifice.

Kokoda Kids at Finish Line

Commitment to succeed

KCYP differs from other programs because it’s long-term. The 9 month commitment from April to January includes physical training and mentoring in preparation for two peak experiences - the 96km Kokoda Challenge in July and a 10 day Sandakan Memorial Trek in Malaysia during the September school holidays.

This trek will be a physical, mental and historical experience of a lifetime and is followed by a further 3 month period of community service to learn the value of giving back.  KCYP participants will graduate in January of 2023, provided they meet the strict commitments of the program which are designed to ensure personal discovery and fulfilment. 

The extended time frame of the KCYP allows for opportunities for all participants to learn, make informed choices, form life long bonds, develop community connections and flourish.

Book a school visit with our Youth Services Manager Stacey to learn more about our youth programs ↓

What is Included

The program includes the following:

  • 2 day camp at Camp Kokoda
  • Entry into the 30km Brisbane Kokoda Challenge
  • Entry into the 96km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge
  • 10 day cultural experience in Malaysia
  • Support and guidance our qualified youth workers
  • 20 weeks of bush walking
  • Support and guidance from your Kokoda Leaders 

What the KCYP involves

Make life long friendship bonds

Meet like minded people with similar interests and values.


experiencing history and culture

A funded 10 day cultural experience in Malaysia that entails trekking the Sadakan Memorial March, visiting an Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and white water rafting down the Kiule River. 

Gaining skills badge

Doing what you
thought was

20 weeks of Sunday bushwalks, mid-week training sessions, two-day overnight camp and participation in the 96km Kokoda Challenge.

time away from technology

Enjoy the great outdoors without feeling the pressure to document every second on your devices! We encourage our Kokoda Kids to take time away from their phones and enjoy every moment.

Gain new skills and learn history

Learn more about navigation and the environment around you! You will also gain a deeper understanding of the history of the Kokoda Campaign. 

giving back to our community

3 months of fortnightly community service to learn the value of community, the true meaning of sacrifice and a chance to give back.

Discover your potential

Discover your
full potential

Discovering a sense of purpose, forming life skills of responsibility and reliability, developing confidence and learning that you are capable of extraordinary things.



Applications for the 2023 program are now closed. Enter your details below to be notified when applications open for the 2024 program!