Council Services / Community

Dorset Council and King Island Council - Active Youth Program

For young students and their parents, school holidays can present something of an ‘entertainment challenge’. “What can I do? There’s nothing to do”. But spare a thought for kids in more remote communities - like King Island – where the range of entertainment, sport and face-to-face social opportunities are much more limited. 

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Figure 1: You can't have this sort of fun on King Island, surely?

King Island has a population of about 1,500 permanent residents, with about 700 people living in the township of Currie, situated on the Island’s west coast. 

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Figure 2: Currie Harbour, Currie, King Island

The ferry, Searoad Mersey, visits King Island just once a week and it only carries freight.  Passengers to or from King Island need to fly, from Burnie or Launceston in Tasmania or from Melbourne in Victoria.

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Figure 3: To get from King Island to Launceston on mainland Tasmania requires an hour and a half on an airplane

The Active Youth Program was developed by Dorset Council staff and is run with the help of some fantastic volunteers. Dorset Council is centered around the town of Scottsdale, shown on the map in Figure 3. The Active Youth Program is designed to provide opportunities for regional youth to be socially and physically active. The program has been running successfully at Dorset Council for four years.   

As a result of a shared service partnership arrangement between the Dorset Council and King Island Council, it became possible to take Dorset’s Active Youth Program to King Island and run a week-long program in the September school holidays.

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Figure 4: The Active Youth Programme trailer, successfully transported to King Island, with a great turn out of local kids.

The Council team packed up all the necessary equipment into an enclosed trailer and towed it to Devonport, where it was then shipped to King Island.  The trailer can be seen in Figure 4.  The Council staff followed by airplane. 

Some students from Dorset’s Youth Leadership Team also flew over to help run the activities.  The experience helped further develop leadership skills for the Dorset students and transfer those skills to King Island participants. 

The program involved a week full of terrific physical activity and fun. The Active Youth Program resources transported to the island and used included:

  • Laser Tag
  • Zorb Balls
  • and Hungry Human Hippos, which absorbed the attention of many participants!

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Figure 5: Zorb Balls in action

A number of the young people involved were so engaged they acknowledged they had been especially active, and that they would probably be exceptionally tired the next day. 

The Dorset Council Youth Health and Recreation officer, Mat Handy, says “It’s great to lead such a fantastic program. In the past we have been to Flinders Island and in the September school holidays we were fortunate enough to work in partnership with King Island Council”.

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Figure 6: This shot illustrates the concept of Hungry Hippos for those unfamiliar - competitors try to gobble
as many balls/balloons as they can in their washing basket/hippo mouths, before being pulled back by
team mates when their hippo mouth is full

General Manager of King Island Council, David Laugher said that, “From the perspective of delivering great outcomes through cooperation and a willingness to work together, this project has been a demonstration of the value of resource-sharing to achieve great things. Delivering value for money and being able to offer new and unique activities like this is always a challenge for small communities, and it is unlikely to be achieved in isolation.