Quota Alstonville Wollongbar is proud to be a supporter of the Backtrack youth program.
Our journey with the Backtrack Boys Youth Program began in April when our Regional Director Diane Parker(a member of Alstonville Wollongbar Quota club) chose Bernie Shakeshaft as a keynote speaker for the Regional Meeting in Armidale. Inspired by the boys, the dogs and the program we followed with interest the production of the documentary. After meeting the boys firsthand and seeing the interaction with Bernie & the dogs and what has been achieved, we feel that it is possible to change your views about young kids in trouble.
These are the kids who have fallen between the cracks of the education system and face a range of issues from family breakdowns, to violence, suicide, drugs and crime.
” Community problems will be solved by community solutions” – Bernie Shakeshaft Founder & CEO.
Backtrack Boys was born in 2006 the brainchild of Bernie Shakeshaft a former jackaroo. Bernie worked on a dingo tracking research project which inspired some of the work he does today at Backtrack. A couple of old Aboriginal bushmen taught Bernie how to track dingoes. “I use the same principles they taught me about wild dogs with these wild kids. You can’t chase ‘em, you go out in front and calmly draw them in” he says. The elders would get the wild dingoes to come right up to them in the bush and they would lay them down quietly in the shade like a farm dog. Years later when Bernie started his youth program this would all come back. Introducing dogs into Backtrack would be a huge turning point and become the cornerstone of the program. All the kids look up to Bernie and his calm, “take no shit” approach seems to work wonders with the boys. You can never get kicked out of Backtrack and the kids stay as long as they need to. One of the reasons why Bernie is so successful is that he was once just like them.
Backtrack is a place where they can feel safe, continue their education, get trained in job skills, but most importantly it’s where they learn to support each other and pursue their hopes and dreams. The dogs are an integral part in helping to tame their wild ways.
“Dogs dont Judge” The dogs at Backtrack have changed young folks lives, Each kid is given responsibility to spend time with, to care for, and to train a dog.