Neighbours watch out for next gen

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Lechelle Earl, owner/editor

Neighbours watch out for next gen

The second and final part of a long-term plan that involved a partnership between Neighbourhood Watch SA (NHW) and Blue Light SA (Inc.) has just been completed.

The Noorla Yo-Long Blue Light Adventure Camp is part of the Blue Light SA (Inc.) not for profit organisation, supported by South Australia Police through the provision of an officer to manage the program.

It is a part of the crime reduction strategy through positive face to face interaction with youth in an outdoor adventurous learning environment.

A SAPOL spokesperson said in 2019 the Neighbourhood Watch Board of Management and their sub-branches donated over $7500 of funding to pay for camps for students involved in Flexible Learning Option (FLO) programs in the greater Adelaide area.

“This amazing level of support has allowed for two fully catered camps to be held at no cost to the students and with schools only needing to arrange the transport,” the spokesperson said.

“It has been identified that students in FLO programs are often unable to find the money to attend these types of camps, schools have limited funds available for such programs and with student’s inability to attend regular classes, through their absence, they miss out on things like school camps.

“This time, thanks to NHW, they have been able to benefit from the unique adventurous learning activities at the Noorla Yo-Long (NYL) camp located at Rendelsham in the Lower Limestone Coast area.

“After all of the difficulties and cancellations, but ultimately a very successful first camp, the staff at Victor Harbor High School were very keen to bring another group of their FLO students.

“Many of those attending our 2024 camp are involved in the Charter Ambassador Program with several also enrolled to complete the Operation Flinders trek later this year and were able to use this camp as a team building experience to support them in their journey.”

Program Manager SC1C Geoff Yates said the students, an all-female group, arrived at NYL for a three-night camp on May 20 after a long drive with three school staff members supporting them.

“The weather turned out to be fantastic and we were able to run a full program of activities for the students who were accommodated in our air conditioned 28 bed bunkhouse located on site,” he said.

“This included communication, leadership and team building activities at ground level, using our climbing wall to learn new skills like belaying a climber and then tackling the high ropes challenges as well.

“This group of FLO students came to the camp from a diverse range of backgrounds, many with complex health needs and significant support requirements.

“Through their own hard work and with help and guidance from their staff and the NYL team, they completed a range of activities designed to push their comfort zones, increase their self-confidence and take on leadership roles in a safe environment, free from alcohol, drugs and bullying.

“I was especially pleased to see them supporting each other, not just their close friends, but also those outside of their friendship groups, and seeing them work together to solve the challenges and become bigger people within themselves from this experience.”

SC1C Yates said once again the camp was a great success and the group had now been able to acquit the funds that were allocated from NHW so long ago.

The school’s Wellbeing and Transitions Hub Curriculum Leader Hamish McMillan said it was a valuable exercise.

“We really wanted this year’s camp to provide an opportunity not only for our students to grow as individuals, to recognise their own strengths and ability to overcome challenge, but we wanted them to start making connections with some of their peers that perhaps they had not really thought of as friends before,” he said.

“With the results we saw through our four day camp, we got this and a bit more than we bargained for with some of our quiet achievers really stepping up into roles where they were out in front, had a voice and found something within themselves they did not know was possible.

“We’re very grateful to the NYL team, and to those who supported our students to get here with their funding.

For some of our students, this was their first school camp ever, their first time away from home, their first time in a forest and this was possible because of that funding.”

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