Fitness is the focus for the six Pilbara teenagers who are taking on the Kokoda Trail as the expedition gets pushed back to November to ensure they are prepared for the trip. The Kokoda Leadership and Development Program was announced in March by YMCA WA in which 14 teens from Newman and Kalgoorlie will take on the famous trail in Papua New Guinea. The trek will develop the leadership skills of the cohort and was originally scheduled for this month. After the recent Manjedal camp, which assessed the fitness level of the group to ensure they would be able to make the gruelling adventure, the trip was pushed back to late November. Y WA chief executive Dr Tim McDonald attended the camp and said some of the teens struggled with long walks but showed great resilience. “Mental preparation is hard, some found it very hard at the end of the five-hour walk, but everyone held it together and worked as a team helping each other over logs and down rocks,” he said. “This program is aimed at developing aspiring leaders for the future, promoting resilience, teamwork, and a sense of community, and I can see all those qualities shining through.” The teens have been advised to up their training to three days a week in the lead-up to the trip which will now take place from November 25 to December 3. The delay is intended to give the group more time to reach the required fitness level for the 96km hike through the Owen Stanley Ranges in Papua New Guinea. Twenty young people were originally selected for the hike and 14 have been cleared for the final preparation phase. Dr McDonald said Y WA would ensure all participants were at a level where the trek would be safe. “The health and wellbeing of all our youth is the Y’s main priority,” he said. The Manjedal camp took place from September 1 to 3 and saw the group make a 14 kilometre hike along the Kitty Gorge Trail.