The NT Government will now be delivering wilderness camps for at-risk youth.
The government announced today that youth diversion organisation Operation Flinders Foundation will be delivering the early intervention camps.
Territory Families minister Dale Wakefield said Operation Flinders Foundation would work with the government’s new youth outreach workers to deliver a comprehensive diversion program to get kids on a better path.
“Our government is addressing the causes of crime and social disadvantage by investing in preventative and rehabilitative programs to stop crime before it even happens,” Ms Wakefield said.
“We know that a reactive and punitive approach to youth crime doesn’t work and ultimately leads to higher rates of offending.
“A review into early intervention youth boot camps in the NT has shown that the most effective programs are backed up with consistent and ongoing support before, during and after the delivery of the program.
“Preventative programs that provide consistent support from our youth outreach workers are key to helping to get these kids’ lives on the right path and helping them to be accountable for their actions.”
In the next year, Operation Flinders will work with the youth outreach workers to deliver four, eight-day intensive wilderness camps followed by a three month post-camp program.
Youths can be referred to the program through police, NGOs, Legal Aid and youth outreach workers. The first cohort of youth attending will be from Alice Springs, starting mid-September.
Operation Flinders Foundation CEO John van Ruth said the program works with at-risk youth to improve their self-esteem and attitudes towards criminal behaviour.
“Through the program, young people are taken to a wilderness environment where their avoidant behaviour patterns are challenged and actively worked through with the support of positive adult role models,” Mr van Ruth said.
“Operation Flinders is thrilled to continue its partnership working with Territory Families and with the new youth outreach workers to provide a unique opportunity for young people to achieve something special and build their own plans for a stronger future as positive members in their communities.”
The Operation Flinders Project was set up by Pamela Murray-White in 1991.
Ms Murray-White was a teacher and former army officer.
Upon completion of her army service she returned to her teaching duties dealing with students with behavioural problems.
She realised then that there were some outdoor elements of army life and culture that could have a positive effect on some of the students.