By ERWIN CHLANDA
The SA based Operation Flinders Foundation will be delivering early intervention wilderness camps for at-risk youth, according to Minister for Territory Families Dale Wakefield.
“This program does not replace wilderness camps to be run out of the Loves Creek facility but rather it is another string to our youth diversion bow,” she says, seeking “to stop crime before it even happens.
“We know that a reactive and punitive approach to youth crime doesn’t work and ultimately leads to higher rates of offending.”
Over the next 12 months, 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.
Operation Flinders Foundation will be paid $140,000 for this contract.
Working with at-risk youth to improve their self-esteem and attitudes towards criminal behaviour, “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,” according to the foundation.
According to the foundation’s website the Operation Flinders Project was set up in 1991 by Pamela Murray-White, a teacher and former army officer. Upon completion of her army service she returned to her teaching duties at the Beafield Campus dealing with students with behavioural problems.
She realised then that there were some outdoor elements of army life and culture that could have some positive effect on some of the Beafield students, says the website.
Murray-White received assistance from local defence force personnel, providing personnel, stores and logistic support.
She had spent considerable leisure time in the northern Flinders Ranges in South Australia, and developed the program there.
IMAGES from the foundation’s website.