Inspiring good men
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Inspiring good men

Category Client Stories

Boys to the Bush

For vulnerable youth in our regional communities, sometimes the simplest of solutions can have the most powerful impact.

It’s a philosophy that’s proven a key to success for Boys to the Bush, a regional organisation dedicated to nurturing disengaged young men, and helping them gain the skills and confidence to live well.

Co-Founder Adam DeMamiel initiated the concept with two school teacher mates, and what began as a holiday camp program has evolved into a whole of community approach providing a raft of opportunities to improve outcomes for some of the most vulnerable.

“Boys to the Bush is all about helping boys become good men, “ he said. “We do this by providing an environment free from distraction, allowing boys the opportunity to be surrounded by positive influences and providing opportunities to succeed. We encourage mateship, resilience and a sense of belonging.”

“With four out of five people in the juvenile system males, we wanted to take a grass-roots approach to engage susceptible young males specifically, and help create better fathers, sons, husbands, brothers and future employees,” Adam said.

On-farm holiday and weekend camps enable young men an opportunity for a digital detox, and to focus on engaging in new experiences unique to life on the land such as fishing, wood cutting, mustering, cooking or sheep work.

“At the end of the day we want our boys to understand the importance of being “a good bloke” and contributing positively to the community.”

The success of the program also relies heavily on the generosity and support of the communities in which Boys to the Bush operates, which currently includes the Albury, Forbes and Bathurst regions, and will soon expand into Victoria’s Wangaratta.

Adam said most people in the community want to see these boys succeed, but often it was a case of not knowing how to help.

Now, whether it’s donating a home cooked meal or opening up your farm gate for young men to visit, everyone can contribute.

“For many of these kids it really is about getting back to basics, we have 14-year-olds who have never owned a toothbrush, now our local dentists provide regular check-ups and teach oral hygiene. We have local hairdressers providing haircuts, we have local mechanics taking boys under their wing for work experience – and all these businesses proudly display our logo, because a sense of belonging from within your local community is an extremely powerful tool that should never be underestimated.”

“It’s a connection to community that reinforces to these boys that all these people care about them.”

With Rabobank a proud supporter of Boys to the Bush through its local Rabobank Client Council network – Rabobank client committees who work with the bank to address industry and community concerns from a grassroots level – Adam said he was extremely grateful for the support.

“Rabobank has been a generous sponsor, which has enabled us to purchase a mobile toilet and shower facility, so the boys can enjoy some creature comforts whilst camping on-farm.

“Rabo Client Councils have also contributed towards the purchase of whitegoods such as washing machines, ovens and clothes dryers – giving us the ability to show the boys how to use these household items whilst doing loads of washing for the group.”

Lockhart district farmer Phil Bouffler is a member of the Riverina and Northern Victorian Client Council and identified the opportunity for the Rabo Client Council to support Boys to the Bush.

“I saw Adam present at an event, and to hear stories of so many boys struggling is just so wrong,” Phil said.

“We have the resources to help, and as an industry agriculture is crying out for staff, and these boys could play an important role in filling that gap. Our involvement in helping these boys makes me very proud and it’s a terrific organisation,” Phil said.

The Not-for-Profit, community-based charity is not reliant on government funding, thus avoiding the political uncertainty many government programs face, yet local government services play a large role in helping heal these young men.

“Most of our boys have experienced trauma of some sort, so our role is also to encourage them towards services such as counselling, or any other wellness resource we would wrap around our own children.”

Boasting 73 full time and casual employees, including two former participants, Adam said 211 boys participated in their MENtouring program last year alone, with 264 attending 20 public camps during the 2021 school holidays.

With the organisation growing, and outcomes heartening, Adam encouraged other communities interested in being involved, or individuals wanting to sponsor or donate, to reach out.

“It’s easier to build a strong boy than repair a broken man.”

Further information can be found at www.boystothebush.org.au or via calling 02 6025 2510.

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