NEARLY 50 young people took the first step in turning their lives around on Saturday, at Youth Insearch’s first camp of the year at Lake Keepit.
For the first time in more than a decade, a politician sat in the trust circle.
Deputy Prime Minister and local MP Barnaby Joyce listened to the young participants share their stories of broken homes, abuse and neglect.
Youth Insearch CEO Heath Ducker wanted to give Mr Joyce the opportunity to witness a session and see why the program was so successful.
“It’s all well and good to have all the statistics – which are some of the best statistics in the industry – but to hear the stories and see the change before his eyes, that’s not something than can happen outside of here,” Mr Ducker said.
Mr Ducked hoped the Deputy Prime Minister walked away with a renewed passion to support the program.
Tamworth acting magistrate and Youth Insearch supporter Mal MacPherson was confident the session made an impact on Mr Joyce.
“It’s emotional, you can’t sit there and not be moved,” Mr MacPherson said.
Mr Joyce said the session was “terribly powerful” and the ability to make such a dramatic change in a young person’s life was “a bloody good trick”.
It’s all well and good to have all the statistics ... but to hear the stories and see the change before his eyes, that’s not something than can happen outside of here.Youth Insearch CEO Heath Ducker
“It’s a lot harder than just saying the word,” Mr Joyce said.
“You’ve got to have both the compassion and the capacity to help – the people here have that compassion and that capacity.
“It’s scary because I can almost hit repeat on a lot of those stories.
“I worked for Vinnies for 16 years.”
Youth Insearch is still hoping the federal government comes to the table with a rock-solid commitment of $400,000 a year.