Green light for Operation Flinders

MOVING FORWARD: Whyalla Police Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard and Stuart High School Principal Sue Burtenshaw are excited to have Operation Flinders moving forward.
MOVING FORWARD: Whyalla Police Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard and Stuart High School Principal Sue Burtenshaw are excited to have Operation Flinders moving forward.

Students from Stuart High School will set off on a challenging 100km trek in the Flinders Ranges aimed at fostering leadership skills.

The $16,500, eight-day Operation Flinders program was funded by generous donations from the community and will be going ahead on September 10.

While the COVID-19 pandemic put the future of the deployment in doubt, SA Police have officially got the go-ahead for the program based on the significant community support for it.

A Whyalla Operation Flinders deployment was one of the strategies targeted at reducing youth crime proposed by SAPOL at a local forum held in 2019.

Crime statistics at the time revealed youth crime was a significant issue in the community, with police having arrested youths on more than 250 occasions.

Whyalla Police Operations Inspector Mark Hubbard said the program would help the youths see how they can be leaders in the community.

"This program has fantastic results, it's been around for a long time and won a lot of awards and we expect very good things from this project," he said.

Mr Hubbard said the support from the community for the Operation Flinders deployment had been 'overwhelming'.

Department for Child Protection Whyalla Manger Jenny Knight thanked the community for their support.

Department for Child Protection Whyalla Manger Jenny Knight thanked the community for their support.

Stuart High School Principal Sue Burtenshaw said students participating in the deployment were those who would benefit from further developing their leadership skills.

"I've been Principal at other schools who have participated in the program and it is life-changing for the students and the staff who go," she said.

"They come out with a new understanding of their skills and what they're actually capable of, as well as how important it is to support others to be their best selves.

"Young people who are at a point in their lives where they might feel a bit lost can benefit because they get an opportunity to focus on themselves."

Department for Child Protection Whyalla Manger Jenny Knight said youths were presented with physical, emotional and psychological challenges during the trek.

"The program has the ability to get youths to look at what's happening in their lives and what opportunities are out there," she said.