Back in March, we travelled out to Alice Springs. When we got there, we hit the Gap Youth and Community Centre, where we started training up some youth workers on how to deliver our flagship program BikeRescue.
The trip was part of Dismantle’s BikeRescue License initiative, which is aiming to get the Bike Rescue model up and running on a national level. The idea is to give youth workers and other mentoring bodies the tools to run BikeRescue programs themselves, keeping everything within a structured framework to maintain consistency and quality. It’ll mean more BikeRescue in more places, and more support for kids doing it tough all across the country.
We were in Alice for five days. In the mornings, we trained up five adult Youth Workers on how to deliver the program. In the afternoon, young people showed up and the fresh mentors got their hands dirty running the program under our facilitation. By the end, the kids were burning up the roads of Alice on their new rides, and the new BikeRescue Mentors were ready to run their next program independently.
Danny Sgro, Curriculum Coordinator for the Gap, said the kids got stuck into the program pretty much immediately. “There was engagement from the start, because these kids either ride bikes or ride scooters as a mode of transportation. Bikes are very popular here. They might have lifts from parents, or whatever, but for their own autonomy, they use bikes to get around.”
He also said the program provided a sense of ownership for participants. Bike theft is an issue around town, he says, so for the participants to build the bikes themselves, it lends the program integrity. “Even though the program, in essence, isn’t really about the bikes, it’s about mentoring,” he says, “bikes are a good vehicle, literally, to run a program with.”
The success of BikeRescue comes down to the combination of both soft and hard skills taught throughout the program. Technical skills keep participants engaged and give them a practical base, while interpersonal and mentoring support is offered alongside to improve their self esteem and emotional resilience.
One of the budding youth workers at the Gap involved in the project was Naum, resident bike enthusiast and a very charismatic, very engaging youth worker. Naum is taking the lead in this project, and will be running more BikeRescue programs into the future. Initially, Naum wasn’t sure BikeRescue would work out. “At first I thought bike building was gonna be gammon [lame] for the young fellas,” he said. “But now I see they properways get into it”
It didn’t take long for the results of the project to become apparent. A couple weeks later, The Gap Youth Centre successfully ran their first Bike Rescue Licence Program. It’s the start of many more to come.