Keeping alcohol out of fun things
COFFS Coast kids are good kids - they've just got nothing to do.
That's the message from the Safe Party Squad's John Black, who for the past 18 months, has spent his Friday and Saturday nights driving to beaches from Sawtell to Mullaway in search of parties, speaking with the teenagers about the effects of alcohol on their life and discussing alternate options.
The Safe Party Squad, which comes under the umbrella of the Ted Noffs Foundation, is funded by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's National Community Crime Prevention Program and is aimed at educating the youth about their choices with alcohol.
Mr Black said that in his 18 months on the job to date, he's seen a dramatic decrease in the number of kids on beaches consuming alcohol.
But the main problem, he says, is the lack of facilities for the youth after about 8pm every night. He said one way of combating youth on the beaches at night is to establish a youth centre in each of the suburbs.
“After about 8pm, there's nothing for the kids to do. And everything we promote is in a licensed venue. It gives these kids the message that you can't have fun unless alcohol is involved.”
He says the Woolgoolga Youth Initiative, which is in the process of re-opening the Youth Centre in the township, is a major step in the right direction.
“We need fun things to do for kids on a Friday and Saturday night that don't involve alcohol,” he said.
And he's taking a proactive approach, having a custom-made trailer built which houses a barbecue and will be used to bring together teenagers for a fun gathering without alcohol.
“Hopefully we can pull up at a reserve or park somewhere and throw a few snags on the barbecue, have some music playing, maybe kick a footy.”
- If you want to volunteer for the Safe Party Squad or be involved in campaigning for youth activities in the area, contact John on 0448 283 139.