Justin Hayes, PCYC

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The PCYC continues to do great work in our local community. We speak with Justin Hayes about getting young kids “active in life”.

How did PCYC originate?

PCYC was formed in 1937 through a partnership between NSW Police and Rotary to create a safe place for young people to be instead of on the streets. From those initial days of a makeshift club in Woolloomooloo, the organisation has grown significantly to be now supporting communities across NSW through a network of 64 clubs.

PCYC in Taree has supported young people in our community for 30 years, officially opening its doors in 1988. The local community banded together to raise the necessary funds to build the Taree PCYC, through a range of fundraising initiatives, over a number of years. This commitment was driven by the founding committee members, and Police Officer in Charge, Snr Constable Errol Brazenell.

What’s the fundamental mission of the PCYC?

Our Mission is focused on three elements

  • We get young people active in life
  • We develop skills, character and leadership in young people
  • We work to prevent crime by and against young people in the community.
  • In all the work we do at PCYC, we strive to be Australia’s pre-eminent youth organisation, and work with Police and the community to empower young people to reach their potential.

What happens up there at the PCYC?

We offer a range of sporting activities, including gymnastics, archery, boxing, martial arts, basketball, volleyball, and hockey. We also offer activities like trampolining and parkour, and recently started badminton and table tennis. 

We conduct a number of driver education programs, including the Traffic Offenders Program, and the Safer Drivers Course for learner drivers. We offer a range of school holiday activity programs, providing care options for families, and ensuring young people remain active throughout the year. We also work with the schools to provide curriculum based health and fitness programs for their students across the broader region of Gloucester to Port Macquarie. We offer training courses for young people to gain their White Card, and work with a number of local Registered Training Organisations to offer a range of other employability courses, including hospitality, barista training, aged care training and soon to be child care courses. On top of that, we deliver a number of wellbeing programs, including breakfast programs, crime prevention programs, and work closely with other local agencies to support young people who are struggling, to get on their feet again and become contributing members of our community.

What impact does PCYC have on the youth today?

The impact that our staff and volunteers have on young people is significant, and this is a motivating factor for most. From helping young people to achieve their dreams in regards to sporting endeavours, to helping disadvantaged kids achieve something they never thought possible, the impacts are vastly different. From providing support to improve the education of young people struggling at school, to reducing community crime through programs and case management, the impact spreads from the individual person to the whole of community.

Being able to provide young people the opportunity to complete leadership programs, as well as secure study scholarships abroad, has a positive impact on the community by helping to shape our young leaders for tomorrow.

PCYC has a partnership with NSW Police; can you tell a bit about that?

As a registered charity, PCYC is privileged to have a strong partnership with NSW Police. This provides the resources for two Police officers, experienced in Youth Case Management, to be based at the club with a focus on working with young people who may be heading down a criminal pathway. The officers are able to work directly with the young people and help them to get their lives back on track, and stay out of the criminal justice system. This unique partnership means that young people can be diverted away from a life of crime, and save the community the cost of criminal activity and potentially the costs of detention or imprisonment.

The local Police are also engaged in programs run at the club, often attending morning fitness programs to engage with young people, and mentoring them through the tough times and helping them to get jobs and stay out of trouble. 

Sporting activities play a huge role at the PCYC. How does sport benefit the overall wellbeing of our youth?

It is well known that active participation in sport has many benefits for your wellbeing. Apart from the obvious health benefits that come with physical activity, it is proven that playing sport also improves your mental health, through positive interaction, social connection and the sense of belonging. Sport is also a good driver to develop a range of life skills, including self-confidence, team work and conflict resolution. There are also a range of opportunities that are provided for people involved in sport which assist them to be contributing members of the community, including representative travel, leadership and development training, and study or scholarship opportunities.

There are numerous opportunities to volunteer; what do you need and how do people get involved?

We are always on the lookout for more volunteers to assist the club in a range of areas. Volunteers are critical for the club’s support, providing help with activity instruction, program mentors, bus drivers, lawn keepers and gardeners, administration tasks, and fundraising support. The club also has an Advisory Committee to help keep things on track, and this is made up of a team of dedicated volunteers.

All volunteers at PCYC must have an approved Working With Children Check and Police Check, and as volunteers this is at no cost to you. If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer and making a difference in the lives of young people, contact the club manager and arrange a time to meet to discuss how you can get involved. 

Are there any particular events the PCYC are entering this year?

In 2019 there are a number of events on the PCYC Calendar. The PCYC Gymaroos are off again, travelling to the World Gymnaestrada in Austria in July. The team have been included in the prestigious Gala Event, with the best teams from around the world. 

In March we will have a local team take part in the RAW Challenge Obstacle course as a way to raise money for youth programs. If you like to play in mud, then contact the club to find out how to join the team.

What’s new for the PCYC in 2019?

Now that our infamous road has been resurfaced, our attentions have turned to projects within the building.

During January we have seen the first stage of refurbishment to the club facilities. The gymnastics centre is now properly insulated against extreme weather, which means people can be active longer throughout the year. This was made possible through Category 3 Club Grants Infrastructure Funding. The foyer refurbishment and accessibility improvements will be completed as a second stage later in the year.

We were lucky enough to have a portable building donated to our club from NSW Police at the end of 2018. The internal works are still to be completed, but this will give the club two new activity spaces to offer new services to the local community. If you have ideas on what we should run, please let us know.

Where can we find out more information?

There is more information on our website: www.pcycnsw.org but we have a friendly team here at the club, so call us, drop us an email, or wander in and have a cup of tea and a chat. The team are always happy to talk to people about what we do and how they can help.

Make sure you keep an eye on our social media pages, as there is always information about what is going on at PCYC in Taree.

Phone: 6551 0292
Email: taree@pcycnsw.org.au

Thanks Justin.

Interview: Bronwyn Davis.

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