AFP officers support youth program in Alice Springs

group photo of participants

** Editor’s note: photos available on Hightail **

Australian Federal Police Western Central Command Protection Operations officers in Alice Springs are aiming to make a difference in the local community by supporting a youth leadership program for teenagers.

The Making a Difference program is a partnership between the AFP and G Training Health & Fitness gym for students from Centralian Middle School.

Twelve students, aged 12-14, are taking part in the eight-week program, which started yesterday (Tuesday, 20 October 2020). It includes fitness sessions as well as discussions on respect, resilience, positive relationships, and making good choices.

AFP Assistant Commissioner Chris Craner, from Western Central Command, said AFP members are part of the local community and want to help young people realise their potential.

“Some students may need extra support to stay at school or build self-confidence, while others may have experienced trauma and would benefit from the program.”

For years, Assistant Commissioner Craner has been involved in and seen the benefits of youth–police engagement.

He realised there was an opportunity for AFP members in Alice Springs to engage with local youth, after a recent trip to the area with AFP Deputy Commissioner Brett Pointing.

Assistant Commissioner Craner said AFP Inspector Ken Napier and his staff in Alice Springs are willingly volunteering their time to help G Training Health & Fitness run the new program.

AFP Acting Commander Central Gail McClure, who joined students for the first session yesterday, said the AFP wants to build positive relationships between law enforcement and young people.

“We want to help children to develop their leadership skills and support them to be able to make good choices, disrupting any potential for negative behaviours,” she said.

Gym owner Steve Gardiner said the school suggested students for the program but those children had to accept the opportunity to take part.

“It’s hard being a young person in Alice Springs,” Mr Gardiner said.

“This program aims to improve young people’s knowledge of Respect, Resilience and Relationships so they can engage better in education, the community and at home.

“We hope this may even encourage some of the youth to see the AFP as a potential career option.”

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