Nina Schwartz, Dylan Lester, Morgan Miles, Corey Lovell, Justin King, Isaac Brigginshaw, Jai Bliim and Levi Schwartz with Matthew Cotter
Nina Schwartz, Dylan Lester, Morgan Miles, Corey Lovell, Justin King, Isaac Brigginshaw, Jai Bliim and Levi Schwartz with Matthew Cotter Felicia Kosegi

Cabarita kids set example

TEENAGERS have taken control of the streets at Cabarita Beach – and the adults love it.

As many as 50 young people, aged between 12 and 18, spend their time planning weekend activi- ties for themselves and their friends. In fact, they're so busy they have no time to get into the sort of trouble that gave the coastal village a reputation for vandalism and even youth violence last year.

The young people of Cabarita are part of an initiative of the Cabarita Beach Business Association called the Cabarita Youth Project.

Under the supervision of youth worker Matt Cotter, the kids arrange activities such as snorkelling, wake boarding, rock climbing and visiting theme parks.

Their weekends are now action-packed and interesting.

“If they have got to get up at 7am or 8am to go and do something with me they aren't going to go out and run amok the night before,'' Mr Cotter said.

Anecdotal evidence around town suggests regrettable youth behaviour has greatly reduced, and this year was the “best holiday season in a while”, Mr Cotter said.

“We have had positive feedback from the business association, so all in all it has been looking good.”

Mr Cotter said the key to the success of the program so far was giving the kids control.

Two young people were even on the committee which hired Mr Cotter.

“The first thing to do is to talk to the youth and find out what they want,” Mr Cotter said.

“The reason this project has had success is because it is run by the youth. We make them a part of any major decision that will affect the group.” It is not just a bunch of adults telling them how to have fun.”



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