New South Wales

Walgett Community College’s class of 2018 had plenty to celebrate during a three-day adventure to the NSW coastal town of Gerroa, south of Sydney. They learned how to surf and swam in the ocean, some for the first time. Mostly, they celebrated a job well done at school.​

The trip to Gerroa, nine hours from the inland town of Walgett, was part of a program by the Walgett PCYC (Police Citizens Youth Club) to encourage students to attend school. It was supported by Highways and Byways, Walgett Community College, NSW Police and Walgett Shire Council.​

It was a good news story for the school that has been under the spotlight in recent years for all the wrong reasons, and the students were determined to enjoy their trip and the new experiences it offered, including the ocean waves.​

The trip was part of the PCYC’s REAL Anti-Truancy & School Engagement Program. In REAL students between 11 and 18 are picked up from their homes three mornings a week to participate in the fitness program run by PCYC staff and volunteers and community leaders. After a healthy breakfast all the participants are taken to school or an educational/employment program. The project addresses education disengagement and crime related issues for Indigenous youth at risk and works to develop positive relationships between the NSW Police Force and Walgett’s young people.​

The Gerroa excursion was offered to young people, who consistently attended the REAL 

breakfast program throughout the year, improved and maintained attendance at school and who contributed positively to the community. ​

And it proved a popular reward with students. ​

The Gerroa accommodation featured a swimming pool, camp kitchen, jumping pillow, children’s playground and a fishing spot nearby. Students also pushed way of their comfort zone at a waterpark slide called, The Perfect Storm, which claims to be the tallest, longest, fastest water ride ever built.​