Police Camps (BLAST Camp)
Our Police Camps or as we like to call them, Blue Light Alternative Strategies for Teenagers (BLAST) is a program, which has been successfully delivered by Blue Light across community groups in Victoria for a number of years. It is a model that offers a range of activities and processes for both individual and group work situations.
These camps are currently available as group bookings only in consultation with local police members, at this time we are unable to take individual referrals.
The program combines team building, problem solving, sports and physical challenges as well as personal development and self-reflective processes.
The BLAST Camp is run over a three-day period, covering a 2 night, 3 day program.
BLAST uses a range of group work activities and processes to be offered as a tailored program to the participating group. The program runs through the stages of group formation, introducing the program with icebreakers, warm ups and moving into team building activities. Participants are exposed to problem-solving situations where they work in different group scenarios, building upon their individual and collective strengths to work together effectively through communication skills. During these activities, participants are offered the chance to reflect on their own learning styles and individual leadership qualities.
The program weaves in physical and intellectual challenges using the principals of group work to educate and motivate the participants.
The program can be tailored to address the particular needs and challenges within the community group – with a selection of ready-made workshops available that address Social & Emotional Literacy; Facilitation skills; Communication skills; Leadership training; Creative Self discovery and reflection.
The BLAST program provides an opportunity for young people to be connected with local services and community support. Through participation in the program, they will form a team, fostering a sense of belonging and support, where they will participate and actively engage in activities to learn skills that will assist their capacity to succeed in life.
BLAST activities are designed to empower participants and provide them with strategies to enhance their social connectedness, improve their self -esteem, confidence, problem-solving skills and sense of belonging in their community.
The activities foster rapport between peers, between youth and staff, and between youth and participating local police members – fostering an environment of collaboration and support.
The program offers an early intervention and prevention model, which aims to reduce the costs of courts, incarceration and post release support. The program promotes leadership and skill development, calls upon the hands of local volunteers to enhance community and partnerships, openness and understanding.
Research has shown that young people who feel valued, who are provided with opportunities to participate and have the skills and capacity to participate and feel connected to family, friends and their community – are less likely to experience disengagement. Young people who feel engaged and who are provided with opportunities to participate, experience a better quality of life and contribute to creating and building better communities. When young people are alienated or disengaged they are at greater risk of poor health, mental health difficulties and social problems. (Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth, Aug 2008). All of these increase the chances of the young person entering into the justice system.
This program aims to increase youth engagement in their community by building wider support networks for the young person and providing a sense of purpose.
Benefits To The Young Participants
- Learn to work with others in co-operative and encouraging team environment
- Build trust levels with others
- Learn strategies for problem solving, encouraging perseverance
- Learn the importance of asking for support without shame
- Experience being successful in overcoming challenges
- Have the opportunity to think of mistakes as learning situations
- Set goals for their future
- Opportunity to increase their self-confidence and self-image
- Positive regard for and trust in police, including personal relationships built
- Life skills training delivered resulting in young citizens able to make responsible decisions regarding their future
- Capacity building and up-skilling of young people for better social relations, future employment and further training opportunities increasing their positive contribution to society
This program will continue the relationship between Blue Light, Victoria Police and partnering communities across Victoria.
BLAST is a program designed for young people. A key feature of the BLAST program is that it benefits all youth age groups, adaptable to work with primary aged children to teenagers to young adults. The activities and processes are universal and offer a positive personal development experience delivered to various age groups and communities.
- Originally designed for teenage participants, the BLAST program fosters a teamwork environment and positive peer relations. The 10-15 years period represents a time of transition in young people’s lives as they move from primary to secondary education and the influence of peer groups assumes greater importance relative to family influences such as parental authority and supervision.
- BLAST is an ideal alternative option for ‘at-risk’ young people. The ‘risk taking’ element involved in the outdoor activities particularly in the adventure camp setting, is likely to appeal more to youth with pre-delinquent tendencies and it is for this reason that challenging adventure programs are more likely to appeal to the non-conforming individuals than organised formal sports (Pearson, 2015).
- BLAST can be adapted and tailored to community groups – including Indigenous Australian and CALD communities. Previous tailored programs have seen the inclusion of external presenters and partnerships offering Koorie Cultural Education in the form of Boomerang workshops, Storytelling and Ceremonies.
Partnerships: Vic Pol & Community
Blue Light partners with Victoria Police in the delivery of our programs. Our Blue Light staff work with the local police officers (often Youth Resource Officers) and the local community to create a comfortable and safe space for the young participants to work together as one big team.
From a policing perspective, officers have the opportunity to be part of a positive experience of building rapport, support and resourcing, as well as increasing their awareness and understanding of the young people in the local community and challenges they face. From the participant’s perspective, they have the opportunity to build rapport with local police officers who could be a resource for them in the future, and increase their trust and understanding of the system and services available to them.
Such positive interactions between police members, youth and community is the act of nurturing legitimacy and building trust which is the foundational principle underlying the nature of relations between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Public consent to support authority and abide by its rules rests heavily on how the democratic society views police which is informed by every personal interaction and how they see police in action in their community. Such engagement as the fun, team building activities offered on the BLAST program also works to mend previous experiences of biased policing, which may have been experienced by ethnic or racial minority group members previously in their home countries.