Culture means a lot to Marc Sutherland and harnessing the next generation's passion to learn about culture is just as important.
Mr Sutherland gets to do just that as director of the Gomeroi Culture Academy which inducted its latest crop of students on Friday.
The students will dive deep into Gomeroi culture this year with group gatherings, excursions and mentoring.
"The Gomeroi Culture Academy is a leadership program that supports students in year 9 across the Tamworth region to better understand how to gain self awareness, confidence and build up their cultural identity," he said.
The academy, run by the Gomeroi Dance Company and Yinarr Maramali, is in its third year and for the first time will have 15 participants compared to 10 previously.
The academy has also increased the number of schools they are in partnership with to five - Tamworth High, Peel High, McCarthy, Oxley High and Farrer - from three.
"That's huge. To not only have more participants but more partnership schools," Mr Sutherland said.
The academy is supported by the National Indigenous Australians Agency and the students applied for a range of different reasons.
For Shakayla Spearim and Aaliyah Morley, it's about learning all they can.
"I applied to learn more about the meaning of culture and my identity," Shakayla said.
"I just wanted to know more so I can teach younger people."
Aaliyah added: "When I'm older I want to be a mentor so I can pass it [knowledge] on to the younger generation."
For Wunda Williams and Cameron Smith, the chance to meet new people was enticing.
"The excursions will be fun and also getting close to the other people that are in the academy," Wunda said.
However, culture was at the heart of it all.
"I'm really looking forward to going to the national areas because I haven't really been," Shakayla said.
"Learning and meeting the elders in the areas and just learning the meaning behind the areas [will be great]."
Over the next 12 months, the students will have weekly sessions with their mentor focusing on an area they chose.
They include anything from dance to language to weaving, wood carving and much more.
Twice a term, the participants will meet for group sessions while the three excursions, which run for three nights, will take place in the school holidays.
"It's a constant engagement, which is the real strength," Mr Sutherland said.
Mr Sutherland said the mentors themselves were also a strength.
"For us and all the other mentors, this is a program we wish we had when we were their age," he said.
"That's a huge motivation for us and it's unique, there's no other program across the state that's like this."