Youth Crime Intervention Officers and Ngala (RSAS) staff helped kick off the Gascoyne football season in May running until 17 August. With sponsorship from local businesses – Westerly Contractors, Woolworths Carnarvon and the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation – the Carnarvon PCYC Kingsford Lions have had a bountiful season remaining undefeated, perhaps due to power in numbers. The club has the highest number of participants for Nippers of all four teams in the Gascoyne Football Association (GFA).
The Nippers were invited on an excursion to the NAIDOC Football Carnival in Meekathara during the July holidays, an event organised by the Stephen Michael Foundation. A brilliant turnout under clear blue skies saw teams competing from Wiluna, Geraldton, Meekathara and Carnarvon but Carnarvon’s light shone the brightest, bringing home the carnival shield.
Paul Mugambwa, General Manager of the Stephen Michael Foundation commended the event, delighted to see so many smiles on the young footballers’ faces.
Working with Carnarvon PCYC, local police, Shire Youth Outreach Services and the GFA, the foundation is keen to explore initiatives beyond the season into 2019 to encourage youth involvement in country football. At least two more events are in planning to be staged in September; one to be held Carnarvon.
The July Carnarvon School Holiday Program was also hugely successful thanks to support from PCYC’s key partner WA Police, and volunteers and the Shire of Carnarvon lending a hand. The program was possible with sponsorship provided by Rio Tinto Dampier Salt, Woolworths Carnarvon, the Aboriginal Biodiversity Conservation Foundation and Chamber of Commerce.
Attracting 40 – 100 young people every evening to the Carnarvon PCYC Centre, Shire Woolshed and festival grounds over the holiday period, three structured activities were on offer accommodating all age groups. The younger cohort was entertained with a wide variety of activities including laser tag, horse rides, NAIDOC Kids Fun Day, arts and crafts, a hip-hop workshop, movie nights and discos. A basketball competition running at the local basketball courts kept the older youths engaged as they improved their skills, health and fitness.
Their efforts were rewarded with free food every evening and a bus to get them safely home after each activity.
Significantly, there was a reduction in reported juvenile crime during this period, highlighting the importance of continuing the program during the school holidays. Focus is particularly important on evening activities when there is the highest risk of youths engaging in anti-social behaviour or offending, breaking cycles in small communities before they become entrenched.
PCYC and the Carnarvon police, with the committed support of sponsors and partners, are kicking goals aplenty as the community joins together. With Carnarvon’s youth wearing grins from ear to ear, there is no doubt diversionary programs not only work but spread joy, leading to wins for the participants and community alike.
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