Helping troubled kids, easy as ABC

A NEW Tweed Valley adventure camp is helping change troubled teenagers' attitudes towards life.

Adventure Based Counselling (ABC) at Nightcap, formerly Mebbin Springs, recently launched its first expedition with both individual and group counselling to help young people adjust, learn to cope and develop a new image of their life and future.

“After an assessment period we take the kids on a nine-day expedition,” ABC chairman Graham Pringle said.

“We start at Clarrie Hall Dam and paddle, walk, ride and abseil to Lismore.

“They don't get in a car for nine days.”

Mr Pringle said their first counselling camp in August had profound effects on those taking part.

“It was funny. They were sitting in their canoes and the bridge where they finished was in sight and they didn't want to keep going,” he said.

“They just sat there. They didn't want it to end.

“It's more than just the enjoyment, they felt safe and that they could make a positive change to their lives.”

The majority of teenagers on the camp, Mr Pringle said, have behavioural problems.

“Fifty per cent were in care and the others were from Nortec and mainly at risk of not completing year 10. It's open to any young person that's not doing very well.”

ABC ultimately aims to fund every child taking part in their trips and is one step closer to that dream thanks to a $1500 community grant from Nortec.

“This money is great as we rely solely on sponsorships and donations to run the programs,” Mr Pringle said.

“The kids can't pay; they come from the poorest families we've got.”

On the previous expedition both Mr Pringle and the psychologist volunteered their time and services.

“The camp changes young people's attitudes and provides them with positive coping mechanisms for when they are tempted to fall back into bad habits.”

ABC's next expedition is in December.

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