Barry Kelly believes the first thing youths need to learn is to have respect for themselves and others.
Barry Kelly believes the first thing youths need to learn is to have respect for themselves and others.

Kokoda test could help unruly kids

A GROUP of local war veterans believe they have a possible solution for unruly youths in the area.

Speaking just a week after a youngster defaced the Warwick War Memorial, Barry Kelly – a philanthropic chaplain who served in the army for about 40 years – told the Daily News the experimental learning provided by the Kokoda Challenge Youth Program could help youngsters travelling down the wrong path.

The Kokoda Challenge, which is held on the Gold Coast, has made a difference in the lives of 153 young people.

Four people trek a 96km walk in the hinterland on a tough endurance test in honour of the spirit forged on the Kokoda Track in 1942: mateship, endurance, courage and sacrifice.

Mr Kelly said instead of punishing young offenders, the scheme could offer the perfect solution to help get young people back on track.

He admitted to being a troublemaker himself as a young adult but after joining the army at age 17 he soon learnt a lot about respect.

“If somehow through the court system young people could be sent to participate in this, though there’s no quick fix, it could help them,” Mr Kelly said yesterday.

“It’s not about punishment, some of these young people have come from a hard enough background, so we don’t need to make it any harder on them.”

To find out more visit www.kokodachallenge.com/kokoda-challenge



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