Off the street, into the ring

PCYC Fernvale After Dark basketball launched more than a year ago and provided a space for young people to positively interact with police. Picture: JACOB HAYDEN

This Youth Week PCYC Queensland is celebrating the growth of its After Dark and Drop In programs, bringing young people off the streets and into the boxing ring and basketball courts.

PCYC Queensland has more than doubled the number of clubs offering the programs since last year, after undergoing a transition that has seen PCYC based police officers focus on delivering youth programs.

At PCYC Fernvale, After Dark sessions are held every Tuesday and Thursday night for boxing and basketball, respectively.

PCYC Fernvale Acting Sergeant Andrew Treacy said the sessions had good attendance.

“We’re really pleased with the numbers coming through at the moment, they’re all local kids aged 12 to 17, girls and boys,” Sgt Treacy said.

“We’re getting upwards of 25 or 30 through our boxing program, and similar sizes for basketball.

“It’s been really successful, and I think the key to the success is the mentors and volunteers we have come along to help.

“We have three or four volunteers who have actually boxed in the past, professionally and on an amateur scale.”

After Dark basketball sessions have run successfully for over a year and boxing was introduced last term with much enthusiasm.

Sgt Treacey said boxing was not about teaching young people how to fight..

“They’re getting some core skills on how to stand and how to move, plus some general fitness,” he said.

“It’s hard yakka. It’s a good session and they’re definitely tired by the end of it.”

Sgt Treacy said the After Dark sessions proved popular for the region.

“In a community like this, where kids have to travel into Ipswich if they want to get into programs, we’ve introduced these programs to give the youth that live in Lowood, Fernvale and elsewhere the opportunity to come and try something new and engage with their community,” he said.

“It’s about diverting them and giving them other opportunities to learn some new skills.

“Some of the kids who come along to the program have had a negative interaction with police, for lots of different reasons, but at the end of the day the police are there to help them, and this is a fantastic way the police can engage with youth in a positive way.”

Already this financial year, there have been more than 58,000 Drop In and After Dark youth participant engagements across Queensland, which is 76 per cent more than in the same period last year.

Contact PCYC Fernvale on 3915 1798 or visit: pcyc.org.au/clubs/pcyc-fernvale