Demolish-build, scrape-paint, dig-plant, design and create… you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the usual goings on of an active construction site; instead you will see the deeply engaged Stage 5 Tumut High School Boys Outreach program in full flight.
With varying interests, these students have often found it hard to engage in the mainstream school environment, instead often preferring to take on the latest ‘call of duty’ battle online or navigate BMX jumps in the local forest area. But with the dedication of teachers and the Executive at Tumut High School this experimental outreach program has enabled the boys to channel their interests and energies into tasks that develop their life skills, while helping local business and the community at the same time.
When Borambola Sport and Recreation Centre Manager, Tom Balchin, was approached by the Tumut High School staff and asked if he would assist with the program, he jumped at the opportunity.
“I met the boys and they were fantastic. They had a lot of energy, were passionate about their interests but most impressively when we talked about what we do here at the Centre they seemed to be hooked on the idea of creating something that other kids could use to challenge and develop themselves”.
So from this discussion a young but maturing partnership between the class and the Centre started. Firstly, the Centre provided the boys with a decommissioned, unrepairable ride on mower. With the help of their TAFE mechanics tutor, the boys pulled it apart and uncovered the source of the mowers woes and provided the centre with a verbal report on what they found.
“They seemed to love working on the mower. They were telling me this part snapped and that part melted, you could tell they enjoyed the challenge of investigating what went wrong,” said Tom.
Since then, the boys have been designing a new BMX skills course for the Centre. Once developed, the boys will help construct the course with the support of Centre staff near the Centre’s existing time trial track. The new track addresses all engineering and environmental sustainability considerations. It will be over 100m long and feature a variety of skill-based elements which will help give participants a well-rounded introduction to skill-based BMX riding.
“The boys have been careful to design the course so riders of all ages and experiences can participate – and it looks fantastic! We are very pleased to be involved with this program and we must credit the great work done by Tumut High in providing this alternative program for the boys,” said Tom.
“The boys seem to be extremely positive, receptive and producing good results in terms of community involvement and benefit. We are excited to see the finished product and we hope to continue to work with the school in the future.”
Construction of the new BMX skills course is expected to be complete in early 2016.