A 15 day boot camp as apparently proposed by Correctional Services Minister John Elferink would be of little value.
That is the view of a member of the town council who, together with long-time youth worker Graham Ross, has been planning for years to set up a residential facility out bush for young people in trouble.
Cr Steve Brown says he has discussed government plans with Mr Ross who had attended a public meeting called recently by Mr Elferink.
Mr Brown says some youths may benefit from short stay at camps, mostly “fist time offenders and somewhat rebellious teenagers” but “in the main this style of short term camp will not in any way address our current issues with neglected youths”.
Mr Brown says what benefit would there be in “picking up a neglected kid, whose normal existence is on the streets, taking him or her away for 15 days of well structured, well fed, intense military style training in a boot camp, and then returning the child to the streets?
“I understand that the intentions are good, and for a few kids this may very well be successful, but for the rest it goes like this: Alone, hungry, neglected, bored … a suddenly new adventure, food, hard work, community care, excitement, possibilities … sudden return to alone, hungry, neglect, realisation of no community care, let down, despair, anger, payback!
“The neglected children of our town and region need full time, caring, custodial care, from the time they are picked up until the day we send a responsible young adult to their first place of employment.
“Even onwards from that time with supported youth hostel accommodation that allows a place of residence away from the peer pressures of a previous existence.
“Until we as a community have the good sense and care, to take on and construct facilities that will support this kind of care, we the community will suffer the compounding effects of an escalating youth crisis,” says Cr Brown.
“The kids on the streets will suffer a calamity!”
PHOTO: Graham Ross (at left) and Cr Brown at the site in the Larapinta Valley where they hope to establish a camp for young people in trouble.