At risk kids learn­ing new skills in the bush

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

AROUND 40 Dou­glas youths had the op­por­tu­nity to get back to na­ture and step away from daily pres­sures and en­joy out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil was suc­cess­ful in ap­ply­ing for fund­ing from the Depart­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties, Sport and Re­cre­ation ser­vices to pro­vide three five-day work­shops.

The work­shops are de­signed for lo­cal young peo­ple at risk of dis­en­gag­ing and of­fer op­por­tu­ni­ties for them to take part in phys­i­cal out­door re­cre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties in a sup­port­ive learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

The pro­gram pro­vides an out­let from so­cial, com­mu­nity and fam­ily pres­sure, while en­cour­ag­ing them to de­velop a sense of con­nect­ed­ness within the com­mu­nity.

They also de­velop re­la­tion­ships be­tween par­tic­i­pants in each of the pro­grams and learn about ser­vices avail­able within the com­mu­nity that par­tic­i­pants can ac­cess for health and well­be­ing mat­ters.

The work­shops are held in the school hol­i­days and the first one last month saw the youths par­tic­i­pate in day-trip ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing bike rid­ing, sea kayak­ing, a nu­tri­tional work­shop, river snorkelling and a two-night camp­ing trip.

Back Coun­try Bliss Ad­ven­tures pro­vided the pro­gram and Barn­aby Mar­ris who runs the eco-ad­ven­ture tours said ev­ery­one en­joyed them­selves.

“We’ve been in­volved with youth pro­grams for over seven years and I’ve done over 50 of them and we do as much as we can when­ever we can,” he said.

“We’re in a po­si­tion where we’ve got skills and equip­ment to de­liver these train­ing pack­ages and pro­grams for kids in the area.

“They love it, it was pretty tough, we had high rain­fall and high wind and it was chal­leng­ing but the kids were great, once they get out of Moss­man and have no dis­trac­tions, they’re bril­liant.”

The par­tic­i­pants were in­volved in all as­pects in­clud­ing food se­lec­tion and set­ting up camp and equip­ment main­te­nance.

The next five-day pro­gram will be held in the June-july school hol­i­days.

To find out more about the next camp, con­tact the coun­cil’s Dou­glas com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment team on 4099 9418.

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