Delhuntie Youth Care Centre opened its doors last week, hosting their first group of campers in the new facilities on Bombah Point Road, Bulahdelah.
The Centre offers a variety of programs aimed at rehabilitating and supporting troubled youth.
Youth Care Manager Mr Rob Kent, said most young people who come to Delhuntie are from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Most have been through some kind of issue in their lives, such as drug or alcohol abuse, while others are from low socio-economic backgrounds,” he said.
“The program is about restoring their lives and finding the best in all of them.”
The five day programs currently offered are demanding to challenge the youths by taking them out of their comfort zones.
Mr Kent said these challenges help the clients develop their strengths, which will assist them build resilience and overcome tough times in their lives.
In place of traditional forms of reprimand, positive reinforcement and equality are essential to the success of the program, allowing participants to leave with a higher level of self-esteem and life skills.
“We only do push-ups, not put-downs,” Mr Kent said.
Participation in the program is through referral from a range of organisations including Lifeline, Family and Children’s Courts, schools and church groups.
The centre, which is privately funded through donations and government grants, employs four full-time and three part-time staff members who are experienced in working with youths at risk.
The new facilities include rope courses, a dam, canoes, swings, hiking tracks, dining area, amenities and camping ground.
Plans are in place to expand the programs currently offered.
Delhuntie Director Mr Elwyn Scale said the organisation has been delivering the successful youth programs at its original centre in Victoria for more than 40 years.
By Daniel SAHYOUN