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The Impact of Operation Flinders

Why do we believe in Operation Flinders? Check out the stories below from two past participants of the wilderness therapy program...

“I went out into the Flinders with a lot of anger problems, confidence issues and a bad attitude. As the week progressed I learnt to appreciate and understand what the people at Operation Flinders were trying to teach us and why what I was doing back home was wrong. I started co-operating with my team members and giving instead of taking like I usually did.


When I returned home from the bush people were expecting me to fall back into my old ways, but I didn’t, I chose to remember some of the lessons I’d been taught and put them in place in my daily life. I learnt to control my anger, a task that I thought was beyond me. Operation Flinders helped me to change my ways for the better and the program set me on a new path in life. It showed me a different side of myself that I didn’t know existed and helped me realise some of my dreams and goals.


I hope this gives people a better understanding of what Operation Flinders does and how much it really does help youths at risk. I believe in the program, it helped me to become who I am today.”


Daniel, from Gawler


"I would really like to thank you so much for taking time out of your life to help me record my original songs. It means so much to me and I’m really excited to see the outcome of it.

Being with Operation Flinders has honestly helped me so much and I would never have been able to do any of these things without it. I didn’t really think that my voice was heard that much, I was always too afraid to sing or speak up in fear of being judged. But Op Flinders helped me find my voice and passion for writing.

I didn’t really expect so much to come out of doing Op Flinders but already I feel like a completely new person (in a good way). Operation Flinders has shown me a whole new light and ways to look at things that I didn’t know existed. I am so much more confident in myself now and I really didn’t know that it could be possible. But it is and I really can’t thank you enough for it. You gave me a chance to show you what I can do and then you made it all happen. You also took me to all these cool places that I hadn't seen before which made the experience so much more amazing. 

I didn’t think I would get this far in my music career but it has become so surreal. So thank you."

Tahlia, from Christies Beach


Awards – Measured Outcomes of the Program

In 2013/14 a comprehensive evaluation of the Operation Flinders program was undertaken. It involved 59 schools and referral agencies, and approximately 600 young people and 100 school teachers. Data was collected on a range of forensic, social, wellbeing, resilience and educational outcomes.


The evaluation indicated the program had the greatest impact for young people presenting with elevated risk profiles, related to recent offending and truancy behaviour. Given the program’s sensitivity with this cohort, strong evidence is provided that Operation Flinders is meeting its funded objective as a crime prevention program.  Together these findings indicate that Operation Flinders is an intervention of change that can impact attitudinal, value and behavioural outcomes which translate to reduced criminogenic risk and positive educational engagement.


In 2015 the Foundation was awarded the UNESCO Clubs Adelaide Achievement Award “For outstanding achievement in conducting a world leading, unique, wilderness adventure program for young offenders and young people at risk, with excellent results”.


In 2008, Operation Flinders was acknowledged with an Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Award awarded by the Australian Institute of Criminology. Operation Flinders was the only South Australian winner, and it was the clinically based support and outcomes that the program achieves, that was the determining factor in receiving the recognition. This prestigious award recognizes the Foundation as the pre-eminent provider of wilderness adventure programs in Australia.


Through participation in the program, participants are also able to gain credit towards their Year 12 South Australian Certificate of Education under the banner of Recognition of Community Learning. Participants also have the opportunity to participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Youth Leadership program as Operation Flinders is a licensed provider of this program.

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