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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Trek to set youth on the right path

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Greater Lismore branch manager Jenny Read (l) and Greater Ballina branch manager Bronwyn Chandler (r) officially present Buttery executive director Barry Evans with a $33,000 cheque towards the wilderness trek program.

Binna Burra’s world-class addiction treatment centre The Buttery is extending its hand to young people in a program that aims to prevent them needing its services in the future.

A group of 14 local teenagers will have the chance to turn their life around by taking part in a ‘wilderness adventure therapy’ trekking program funded by a $33,000 grant from Greater Building Society.

The group, aged 13-18, who are considered to be at risk of harm from drugs or alcohol have either complex behavioural problems or come from disadvantaged family backgrounds and have been referred by local GPs, police, school counsellors or other health and welfare professionals. Over nine days during the September school holidays they will trek by foot, bicycle and canoe for 60 kilometres through the Nightcap Ranges National Park accompanied by registered therapists, youth workers and psychologists.

The Buttery’s executive director, Barry Evans said the young people are also taught bush survival and social interaction skills and given intensive counselling. They also attend a follow-up weekend session after the trek.

Mr Evans said the treks are a ‘preventative measure’ with positive benefits for both the participants and the community.

‘The treks help identify problems and provide solutions before the young people develop entrenched anti-social or harmful behaviour such as involvement in serious crime or drug or alcohol dependence,’ Mr Evans said.

‘After the trekking program we see increases in psychological resilience, improved team participation and positive changes in attitude,’ he said.

‘Addiction is not a matter of choice but recovery is and thanks to this grant we are able to intervene early in a young person’s life and help equip them with the skills they need to make healthy choices.’

Greater Building Society Lismore branch manager Jenny Read said, ‘we hope that our funding and, more importantly, our participation in the trek will help give these young people the helping hand they need to make their lives greater and make a positive contribution to their community.’


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