The Victorian Blue Light Youth Camp together with Blue Light Victoria would like to undertake a project to build a community style kitchen at the camp that will cater to the development needs of young people at risk in the community of Victoria.
Over the past 18 months Blue Light has secured funding through grants and sponsorship to run our BLAST (Blue Light Alternative Strategy for Teenagers) Camp.
This program provides support and guidance to young people to;
• learn skills that will help them increase their capacity to succeed
• empower them by providing strategies to enhance their social connectedness
• improve their self-esteem, confidence
• increase their sense of belonging and connectivity with their community.
The program can be adapted to suit various needs of the community and has been run for indigenous youth and others identified as at risk. The core of each program is the same but additional elements are added to address specific issues, or in the case of indigenous to enhance the link to their culture and history.
It has become evident on these camps that food insecurity is a major issue faced by many young people. Food insecurity exists “whenever the availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or the ability to acquire acceptable food in socially acceptable ways is limited or uncertain” (Radimer, 2002).
According to the 1995 Australian National Nutrition Survey and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Performance Framework (data 2004-05) certain groups experience food insecurity at a higher rate than the general population (Browne, Laurence, & Thorpe, 2009; Burns, 2004). These groups include:
• Indigenous people (24%);
• unemployed people (23%);
• single parent households (23%);
• low-income earners (20%);
• rental households (20%); and
• young people (15%).
There are many reasons why food insecurity exists, these include poor income, household infrastructure and overcrowding, storage and cooking facilities, lack of nutritional education, limited access to transport and the possibility that parents with substance abuse conditions may not prepare or purchase adequate food.
By building this community kitchen Blue Light will be able to incorporate a simple food preparation and education program into our camps. It will be designed to not only teach children basic cooking skills and nutritional information but will also be enjoyable and a great way to have positive interaction with police members and adult volunteers on the camps.
Currently the Victorian Blue Light Youth Camp (located in Maldon) has a small self-catering kitchen located at the end of a conference room. The plan is to extend the size of the kitchen and fit it out with new cabinetry, benches and appliances to allow for a large enough area to conduct community kitchen activities.
Visit the camp website at: www.bluelightcamp.com.au