Mav­er­ick’s life turns at boot camp

Central Queensland News - - FRONT PAGE - Aden Stokes Aden.Stokes@cqnews.com.au

RE­SPECT, re­silience and per­se­ver­ance are some of the traits trou­bled teen Mav­er­ick Laskowski is de­vel­op­ing dur­ing a nine-day boot camp de­signed for chil­dren fac­ing a range of is­sues.

The 15-year-old from Mid­dle­mount said that be­fore join­ing the pro­gram he had not been pay­ing at­ten­tion to his par­ents and do­ing as they asked.

“I was get­ting in a bit of trou­ble at home and my par­ents thought this would be good for me,” Mav­er­ick said.

“I was ex­cited when I was at home, think­ing about the course and how it could help me. Now I am here be­ing put through my paces – and I feel good.”

Even af­ter four days with the Vet­eran Men­tors team, Mav­er­ick said he felt as though he had moved ahead.

“I’ve learnt so much al­ready but I think the big­gest thing is that I’ve learnt how to be an all-round good per­son, es­pe­cially how it is im­por­tant to re­spect other peo­ple,” he said.

“When I get home I am most def­i­nitely go­ing to be treat­ing my par­ents dif­fer­ently. I am go­ing to treat them bet­ter. I am here to work on me and I’m do­ing that thanks to these vet­er­ans.

“I re­ally look up to these guys. They are good peo­ple who have served their coun­try and now they are here with us, help­ing us to be bet­ter.”

Mav­er­ick is one of 60 teenagers tak­ing part in the Vet­eran Men­tors ju­nior lead­ers pro­gram for chil­dren who are fac­ing a range of is­sues such as tech­nol­ogy ad­dic­tion, bul­ly­ing and low self-es­teem.

The pro­gram, which takes place in the Gold Coast hin­ter­land, in­volves chil­dren aged nine to 17 work­ing to­gether to face chal­lenges, with­out the means of tech­nol­ogy and while push­ing per­sonal lim­its.

Vet­eran Men­tors di­rec­tor Glenn Filt­ness, who served in Afghanistan, said he and the team used their mil­i­tary train­ing to men­tor and mo­ti­vate youths like Mav­er­ick to bet­ter them­selves.

“We are de­ter­mined to help kids be­come ac­count­able for their be­hav­iour and de­ci­sions,” he said. “Af­ter much dis­cus­sion we re­alised the best way for us to pass on the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence we had de­vel­oped in the mil­i­tary was to run a pro­gram that could sup­port a wide range of chil­dren.

“Some kids who join the pro­gram may be demon­strat­ing poor be­hav­iours, low self-es­teem, lack of re­spect, ad­dic­tion to tech­nol­ogy or is­sues with drugs and al­co­hol, while oth­ers may just want or need to be pro­pelled for­ward to reach their full po­ten­tial.”

Mr Filt­ness said the pro­gram was prov­ing to be a huge suc­cess.

“We are con­sis­tently see­ing a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in each in­di­vid­ual by the end of the pro­gram,” he said.


NEW RE­SPECT: Vet­eran Men­tors team mem­ber Corey Neill with teenager Mav­er­ick Laskowski.

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