On Track Back on Track

BY DI SNEDDON

Do you have some spare time to volunteer?

On Track Hunter (based in Singleton) supports disengaged young people between the ages of 12 and 18 and the program is in desperate need of volunteers.

The program encourages the participants to build their life skills, create opportunities and to contribute to society.

It is based on the successful model and philosophy of Back Track Youth Armidale with the ultimate aim to re-engage youth with the mainstream education system, to provide employment options and to teach daily life skills to get them on the right track.

Director Ann Fuller thanked both Singleton Council’s Community Economic Development Fund (supported by Glencore and Bloomfield) and BHP Vital Resources Fund for financially backing the program to employ a program team leader. 

However, the program is mainly supported by volunteers and Mrs Fuller is now reaching out to the community.

“We need people with skills, talents and a willingness as a volunteer and we have lots of roles available, we need boots on the ground and behind the scenes volunteers,” Mrs Fuller told The Hunter River Times.

“The role is to assist our paid team leader in whatever capacity you can.  Some areas would be assisting with food preparation, general supervision, even good communication skills, you might just be the person a young person needs to be able to talk to,” she said.

“Maybe you have a specific skill or talent that you could teach the participants such as mechanics, woodworking, cooking, gardening, budgeting or money skills, music, even tutoring.”

The program currently runs two days a week with one day focussed on practical skills in a farm environment and the second day concentrates on building rapport with the youth whilst teaching them life skills such as cooking and learning how to deal with stressful situations and how to work with their community to support local projects and improve social connectivity.

Interruptions to the program which really is in its infancy has caused havoc but Mrs Fuller confidence in success has been boosted by the funding support.

“These youth are disengaged from the mainstream education system and this often includes putting the young people on the path of the criminal justice system or responding to mental health, domestic violence or drug and alcohol issues.

“The project aims to change the footsteps of where they may be heading to a new, more positive, direction, keeping them on track,” Mrs Fuller said.