The Board of the Rotary Club Darwin North has approved a $3000 a year sailing scholarship program for “at risk” youth aged between 12 and16 years.
It’s a proactive program designed to help young people in difficult health or social circumstances to find a pathway into the ethics of youth leadership, while learning a new skill, meeting new people, and being challenged by the sea at one of Australia’s most demanding nautical locations, the Darwin sailing harbour.
The driving force behind the scheme is Charles Darwin University lecturer in Social Work and Humanitarian Studies, Dan Baschiera, who is also Director for the Youth and International Program at the Rotary Club Darwin North.
Mr Baschiera’s inspiration for the program was to create a positive activity to steer young people away from street racing, Playstations and anti-social behaviour and towards wholesome outdoor activity that engages the body as well as the brain.
“We need to be proactive instead of reactive to the plight of our young people,” Mr Baschiera said.
“School challenges the mind, but they need adventuresome challenges too at the hands of Mother Nature. Sailing offers them the chance to learn new skills, not just in the technicalities of skippering a boat, but also in leadership and the Darwin harbour is a great training ground to hone these skills.”
The program will accommodate three young people a year, each of whom must be nominated by either a paediatrician or a school counsellor.
Successful applicants will each receive a one-off scholarship of $1000 a year to attend sail training lessons, acquire a stinger suit/lifejacket and obtain Darwin Sailing Club youth membership.
The only provisos for the scholarship are that the students must be attending school, have no recorded convictions, offer assistance to Rotary members with occasional voluntary project work, abide by the scholarship regulations and attend the occasional Rotary social function.
Once qualified, the youth members will be enabled to compete in “ROTACAT”, the Hobie Cat which CDU Sailing sponsors.
Counselling support to the program will come from the CDU Social work and Humanitarian disciplines, displaying a multilateral engagement between the University and the wider community.