THE Youngmanni Aboriginal Cooperative (YAC) was established this year (2012) by a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from NSW and Victoria. The aim of the YAC is to raise funds to enable young Aboriginal people across Australia enter the areas of sport, arts and further education and skill development.
As part of the establishment phase of YAC various interested parties in Victoria and NSW have been approached to join the organisation as members. At this time we have two (2) retired Indigenous organisation CEO’s who have been welcomed as the inaugural leaders of YAC – one from Southern NSW (Barry Stewart) and the other from Northern NSW (Wally Stewart).
Barry and Wally Stewart (not related) have, between them, over 60 years experience working in and with Indigenous Communities. Over this time they noticed that a number of young people, who are not interested in mainstream sporting or arts activities, became disenchanted with the programs being offered. Boredom and problem behaviours often followed and lead to terms of incarceration for many. They have also identified this as a generational issue in many communities and almost an accepted way of life for many families.
Under the leadership of Wally and Barry YAC hopes to achieve openings into various art and sporting activities not previously targeted by community controlled Aboriginal organisations, where there is an established focus on sports that involve ball games and athletics, and arts that mainly involve ‘traditional’ painting and dance.
The YAC plans to focus on the youth who are not interested in these areas of skill development and introduce them to their areas of interest that will see them as leaders and role models for the disengaged youth in our communities.
In the experience of Wally, Barry, and other members of YAC many young people have expressed the desire to undertake skill development in non-traditional activities that are prohibitively expensive and/or require the generosity of successful business leaders to mentor and give their time to nurture and support our youth.
Initial work undertaken by Barry and Wally in discussions with business people and young people in Mildura (Vic), Buronga and Wentworth (Southern NSW), and Narooma and Byron Bay (Northern NSW) has identified several areas to specifically target as pilots for further development. As a result of their extensive experience and research, and discussions with Mr John Kelly and Mr John Crennan from the Kelly Racing Team, YAC has been able to form a partnership and establish ‘Dreamtime Racing’ as a pilot project for youth.
At this time YAC has one young person engaged in the project who is going to be trained as a test race car driver under the sponsorship of Kelly Racing. There are a number of other young Indigenous people interested in joining the program for work experience with the Kelly Racing Team under the YAC and Kelly Racing agreement. The range of work experience and training available includes: art design for uniforms, cars, and merchandise; unit costing and pricing of Dreamtime Racing merchandise for sale both online, through car dealerships, and at events; wholesale and retail stock control and management; road safety and driving skill development; basic vehicle safety and maintenance; assistance, support, mentoring and ‘on site’ training to undertake further education in any area relating to the industry through recognised educational facilities.
In addition to the program training and mentoring the first professional Indigenous Australian racing car driver, the program aims in its first year of operation to generate educational work experience for 40 young people during two week periods at the Kelly Racing/Nissan Motor Sport Headquarters and at race tracks in Australia and overseas.
It is also anticipated that YAC will be able to enter a Dreamtime Racing car in the V8SCA Photo: Adult Ed Tutor Mal Barry Development Series with a full Race team including facilities, race car, spare parts, equipment and fully trained Indigenous staff.