Operation Flinders Foundation
Each exercise accommodates up to 120 participants in teams of approximately 10 youth. Teams operate independently and trek more than 100kms during the eight day wilderness therapy program. Participants are confronted with physical, emotional and psychological challenges in an isolated and unfamiliar environment and engage in activities including daily cross-country hikes, abseiling, team building activities, bush survival skills, navigation and first aid skills, gain an understanding of Aboriginal culture and the history of the Flinders Ranges.
For young people the period between 12 and 25 is a time of rapid change and development, physically, mentally and emotionally. While most young people navigate this period successfully, `there is a small but significant number of young people who, through a combination of their circumstances, stage of development and barriers to participation, are at risk of not achieving positive life outcomes’*.
In 2016, the Commonwealth Youth Programme indicated in the Youth Development Index Report that Youth Development is defined as “enhancing the status of young people, empowering them to build on their competencies and capabilities for life. It will enable them to contribute and benefit from a politically stable, economically viable, and legally supportive environment, ensuring their full participation as active citizens in their countries.”*
Operation Flinders Foundation provides young men and women aged 14-18 years, identified as being at risk, with demanding outdoor challenges and support to help them develop their personal attitudes and values of self-esteem, motivation, team work and responsibility so they may grow as valued members of the community.
The program is especially designed for those from environments with family dysfunction, drug abuse, and physical abuse to improve self-confidence and self-esteem, ability to work in teams, and ability to accept responsibility. Beyond completion of the wilderness program, young people are welcomed into the Operation Flinders family and are encouraged to build their support network through the Foundation.
The New Directions program offered by Operation Flinders gives ex-participants opportunities which they may have not had access to before, such as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, support networks and employment opportunities in their local areas. One of them is the Peer Group Mentor Program, an internal program that continues development in leadership, teamwork, bushcraft, outdoor and first aid skills with participants whom are nominated or choose to self-nominate with a motivation to continue their growth.
Take a look at this infographic for some more information on the outcomes achieved by the Foundation and consider making a donation and support the next generation in their growth and development.
For more information or to learn how you can get involved with the Operation Flinders Foundation, please visit their website.
*2016 South Australian Vulnerable Youth Framework Consultation Paper, South Australian Office for Youth
*2016 Australian Youth Development Index Report, The Commonwealth Youth Programme