Before I wrote this, my wife and I discussed it. My wife Danni is the real conservative in our household so when ever I have an idea, I don’t just need to give her the why and how much?
I have to give her a WHY? That she can agree with.
So I rewrote this several times, Because I had to find the Why? she agreed with!
The Reason I want a youth Recreational Center in my Ward of Richardson, close to Casuarina isn’t because it will drive down crime although it will.
As you may know, I grew up in Darwin. When I was a kid we had “The Fire Escape” youth and leisure run by the red cross, it was a fun place where kids of all backgrounds could come, interact, have fun and be entertained. It was free which meant it was affordable. It also worked.
After a lack of funding and change of management etc “The fire Escape” closed down and heaps of my mates went off the rails and ended up in either Don Dale or the clink.
But sanity eventually came back and it was eventually replaced by “The Shack”. The Shack reflected Darwin’s changing and diverse community, more of the attendee’s were of indigenous background and until it could no longer afford the at the time sky-rocketing rents of Darwin it met the need in the community. The Shack wasn't flash but it was in the right area.
It isn’t rocket science that the closure of “the Shack” coincided with a massive increase in youth crime, in fact if you are a local, we kind of knew it would happen. But Youth Crime statistics are not the only reason we need a Youth Recreational Center to re-open.
Health and well being - Community recreation centers offer many programs that help benefit both the body and the mind. Studies have shown that children who exercise regularly have lower blood pressure, delayed onset of diabetes, lower heart disease rates, lower rates of childhood obesity and overall increased longevity. Exercise also helps increase white blood cells and aids in strengthening your immune system.
Reduce Stress and improve mental health - The benefits of community recreation centers not only help the body, but they also create a less stressed mind. Stress greatly affects the community at large, and children who regularly use recreation centers have lower stress levels than sedentary children. Another benefit to the mind is overall happiness. Youth who exercise regularly are more than twice as likely to consider themselves happy.
Benefits to Families and the community - Families that play together tend to stay together. Family ties are improved by spending leisure time with each other. This effect even works with parent-child relationships. The recreational facility team usually has unique ways to help families participate together to increase family ties.
Yes Reduce Crime Rates with Children - Juvenile criminal rates have decrease up to and over 25% when the community has a recreation center for adolescents to attend. A community recreation center gives children a safe place to play, keeping them off the streets.
Many youth recreational centers that have implemented a Municipal mentor program whereby troubled adolescents are given the opportunity to give back by participating in youth mentoring programs have seen drop’s in crime rates with children by another 10-15%.
Recreation Centers increase property Values – Properties located near youth recreation centers have historically noticed increases in property values. Studies have shown that not only do people like to attend recreational centers but that they also like to live near them.
Increase Youth Employment - Employers and the community seek members of Recreation groups due to their known benefits and youth members generally benefit from programs and training offered at youth recreation centers.
Cultural diversity and reconciliation - Sometimes, cultural differences can cause some problems in community relations. Participating in group activities can help to increase cohesion in both the community. Sports tourism like Sepaktakraw and others also brings more cultural diversity to many types of different events.
Boosting Student performance - Students who actively participate in recreational activities have increased retention rates consistently in studies.
Retaining employee’s and people to an area- Employees who exercise regularly used almost half as many absences as employees who did not engage in physical activity. Employees who live near recreation centers have a lower turnover rate due to “Happiness”.
Public Safety – Many recreation centers offer classes that teach CPR and first aid procedures that can greatly benefit the community. These classes usually cost very little to attend and some even offer free enrollment. Recreation centers are also seen as safe spots since the larger crowds can deter violent situations.
Tourism – A Larger recreation center can hold large tournaments that can bring people from neighboring states. This increase of people can help bring more revenue into a city a few times a year. Local businesses along with the recreation centers see an increase in revenue during these large events.
Increase in Council Revenue – Although entry to these facilities are free for children to 17 years of age. Adults that attend, either to participate in activities with their children or as spectator to special events provide revenue to not only run the facilities but also to maintain and improve the facilities.
Youtube and emerging emedia – Low cost media performance art facilities provides not just a way for council to raise revenue but also for youth to create and distribute their own art and create revenue with parent/guardian guidance and permission.
I’ve spoken to police officers, youth workers and most importantly to children and asked them for their feedback in regards to this type of facility and all have told me that on this issue alone they feel our community and society would improve.
Remember if you want to help me help you, please share your voice and vote for Sam4Richardson this coming 26th August 2017.
Written and Authorized by Sam Wilks. The views included may not be those of others mentioned in the article but are those of Sam Wilks. If you have other idea’s feel free to comment below. Idea’s and differing opinion is recognition of a free and just democratic society. A Society I am happy to live in. Please however try not to be abusive or discriminative, you may be. But if I feel that your opinion may be harmful or is reported as being harmful, I will delete it.