Acting Superintendent Mark Burgess and Keppel Brittany Lauga congratulate a graduate.
Acting Superintendent Mark Burgess and Keppel Brittany Lauga congratulate a graduate.

Positive development in fight to curb CQ’s youth crime

EFFORTS to inspire at-risk youth across Rockhampton to steer away from a life filled with crime appear to be taking effect thanks to Project Booyah.

The early intervention program last week saw the graduation of another nine young men following its intensive 16-week behavioural workshop.

Acting Superintendent Mark Burgess was joined by Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga to celebrate the occasion, labelling the program both beneficial to youths and communities.

Project Booyah Coordinator Joe Ramsay said the program aimed to support at-risk young people in hopes of re-engaging them with either their family, community or education.

“Referrals come from everywhere, some from police or youth justice or other agencies. A lot come from different schools; they refer a lot of people who are at the point of not attending.”

Led by Queensland Police, he added that while apprehensive at first, the young men quickly embraced their new-found support network.

Some of the nine young men eager to graduate from the rewarding program.
Some of the nine young men eager to graduate from the rewarding program.

“On our first couple of visits they’re very wary about what they can and can’t do and say, but as time goes on and they realise that we are there to support them.”

Attendees are frequently required to undergo a series of both adventure based and team building activities during the course.

“We also cover off on our own Respect Program which we’re trying to get national accreditation for later on in the year,” Mr Ramsay said.

The same program highlights the importance of building and practising mindfulness – as well as qualifications to better support employment prospects.

This year, the young men completed both a certificate III in hospitality as well as a white card and barista course.

READ MORE: YOUTH CRIME: Labor MPs respond to criticism on the big issue

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Booyah Program Coordinator Joe Ramsay with some of the program’s previous graduates from past years.
Booyah Program Coordinator Joe Ramsay with some of the program’s previous graduates from past years.

“I think Rocky is very similar to other regional communities, we have a lot of high youth unemployment and crime from time-to-time.”

“We don’t try limit [the youths] and tell them where they’re going to go, but we try and give them the skills and opportunities where they can go on and lead themselves into a better place,” said Mr Ramsay.

He extended his gratitude to the many local businesses and organisations – Rockhampton Basketball, CentraCare CQ, Black Dog Ball, Rockhampton Leagues Club and CQUniversity – which continue to assist the program.

Project Booyah currently runs in nine sites across Queensland: Cairns, Townsville, Sunshine Coast, Rockhampton, Pine Rivers, Ipswich, Logan, Redlands and the Gold Coast.
To learn more about the program, click here.



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