Operation Flinders Foundation is a South Australian based charitable organisation that runs a world leading wilderness adventure program for young offenders and young people at risk. The program takes participants between the age of 14 and 18 years on an eight day exercise in the far northern Flinders Ranges, providing an opportunity for its participants to break away from their past and grow as valued members of the community.
The Foundation offers a unique program that presents its participants with a new direction in life. Teams trek 100km through the spectacular Flinders Ranges with the aim to develop personal attitudes of self esteem, leadership, motivation, team work and responsibility. They learn basic bush survival skills, are taught to abseil, discover Indigenous culture and learn of the rich history of the Flinders Ranges. Unlike other aspects of their lives, there is not an opportunity for the participants to 'opt out'.
Each team, of between 8 and 10, is led by a team leader skilled in navigation and bushcraft. The young participants live out and sleep on the ground, prepare their own food, navigate through the Flinders Ranges and learn the values of team work and respect.
An independent evaluation in 2001 reported that the program at that time was leading the world in its outcomes, and found that the young people at high risk underwent a significant positive change as a result. Operation Flinders fields teams from both metropolitan and regional communities throughout South Australia. In the years 2008-2009, a record number of over 320 young people participated in an Operation Flinders Foundation Exercise.
Award Winning Program
In 2008 Operation Flinders also honored as a winner at the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards. The Foundation was one of only six projects out of 67 entries from around Australia, and the only South Australian entry, to win a national ACVP Award.