“Tomorrow‘s Leaders Today”
The Youth Leadership Program is designed in consultation with the Salvation Army and Teen Challenge to provide a platform for young people to develop a sense of social inclusiveness and vocational skills.
The program is designed to allow young people to integrate at their own pace and to become gradually more involved in the program as they overcome the barriers that have held them back from community involvement, study and work.
We use a three tiered approach as follows;
Level One; Adventurous activities – we take young people out of the city every Tuesday for an adventure. We go canoeing, kayaking, abseiling, climbing, bushwalking and fishing.The activity serves as a catalyst for creating an inclusive social atmosphere that is fun and supportive.
At this initial level of involvement each person is there intrinsically for their own benefit and enjoyment and, really to get out of the city. But, as they become comfortable with the program and build self esteem, social skills and awareness of self within the group an awareness of others becomes more apparent.
Level Two; Activity Planning & Development – We use the framework provided by the Outdoor Recreation Training Package to form a basis for developing a level of personal organisational ability (eg; being on time, bringing lunch and suitable clothing) and vocational skills such as OH&S, Hazard awareness, basic logistics including checklists for different activities. We are in reality teaching skills that are conducive to vocational outcomes but within a framework that allows development of life skills within a socially inclusive environment.
At this level of involvement, young people learn to be reliable, organised and to think of provisioning for the group as a whole, not just for themselves. They learn awareness of the effect of the program on other attendees and how to interact in a team environment.
We build study and literacy skills through completion of workbooks and assignments, thus preparing the young people to opportunity to move on the further study including completion of high school or other vocational training.
On completion of this stage they will have achieved certification in Apply First Aid, Perform CPR, Construction Industry White card and a Statement of Attainment at Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation (Basic Recreation Logistics).
Level Three; Assistant Outdoor Leadership – by building on the above competencies in Basic Recreation Logistics attendees can study outdoor leadership and gain a qualification as an Assistant Outdoor Leader.
At this level, the student becomes a leader within the program and in doing so explores their leadership potential. They soon find themselves participating as a group leader and assisting others in the very skills that were to themselves a challenge not so long ago. At this stage it is possible for them to gain employment within Outdoor Recreation or to turn their attention towards other vocational areas.
Why is the program so successful?
We attribute our success to the program design, wherein young people attend weekly but only for one or two days. The rest of the week is spent in their day to day life in which they have opportunity to test the social and personal skills that they learn on program. They then receive positive reinforcement and support on return to program the next week and so forth to improve their general well being over time.
This approach produces the steady progress required for positive skills to become life habits.