OPINION: Smile for Schoolies says Byron Mayor

SCHOOLIES SAFETY: Nicqui Yazdi, Coordinator of Byron Schoolies Safety Response and the Byron Schoolies HUB with Byron Mayor Simon Richardson at Main Beach.
SCHOOLIES SAFETY: Nicqui Yazdi, Coordinator of Byron Schoolies Safety Response and the Byron Schoolies HUB with Byron Mayor Simon Richardson at Main Beach. Christian Morrow

AH, the magic of youth.

As we walk about our streets in coming weeks, shoulder to shoulder with our young guests, take the time to appreciate the freedom of youth, the energy….and at times, social clumsiness.

There aren’t many times in our life when we have little responsibility other than to go to the beach and hang out with our friends. It’s no wonder that with advancing years and a touch of envy, some of us can get a little grumpy and look for the negative in their joy of life.

Yes, some of the Schoolies could show more respect for our town, but let’s take a proactive approach and look for ways that can change behaviour. If you’re wandering past the Schoolies Hub at Main Beach, check out their programs to create incentives to curb alcohol.

Did you know that if a Schoolie blows .0 for three days they get to take home a Wild Byron photographic book by David Hancock? What a great reminder of their time in Byron, or a thank you gift for Mum and Dad.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing when something goes wrong and when this happens, it’s very easy to look at the negatives. Unfortunately, it’s often only the things that go wrong that we find out about. This Schoolies, let’s change that focus and look for the positives. Let’s show young people how to slow down, chill out and relax.

Many of us settled in the shire as a result of a holiday and a strong desire to call this place ‘home’. Some of our young visitors could very well end up returning to the area and adding to the richness of our social fabric. Don’t write them off.

And don’t forget to stop and thank the many hard- working Schoolies Hub Volunteers, Red Frogs, police, ambulance and hospital staff – they’re all part of a dedicated crew that provide the safety net for our young visitors.

Say hi to a Schoolie this week – perhaps they could use some local wisdom.


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Schoolies 2013

Schoolies 2013







































As a huge supporter of the work of the Schoolies Safety Working Group and volunteer every year at the HUB, it was a difficult decision to transfer some funds from this years Schoolies to help develop a cultural and creative response to NYE and the Summer holiday period. However, with the challenges of a clear financial reality comes the opportunity for individuals within our community to re-engage with our community. As difficult as it is to face, the community broadly has to begin to step up to the plate. There is a great tradition of council, per capita, outspending every local govt in NSW on social services and a great tradition of some businesses and individuals committing enormous energy to help our community and visitors. Nicqui Yazdi, the 100 or so volunteers at the HUB and supportive businesses fit this bill. However, we have to move past the history of council and a small group of great people trying to move mountains.  With our financial position being what it is, the well of giving must be deepened. On one hand, it is a sad, unfortunate and frustrating fact. But on another hand, it generates tremendous opportunity for community momentum. The residents of Federal are a great example. Given 9 or so months to raise over $200,000 to buy a beloved church, initially Council was asked how much it could pay. However, as the community created a focus and began to generate funds and a sense of ownership, Council was rarely mentioned again and $220,000 was raised. And a community was more united and proud than perhaps ever. It should be remembered that Council is still allocating  just over $20,000, more than the entire budget of our youth council, who work on employment, safety, transport and creative issues of Byron Shire’s young residents. If every business that uses the hub to promote themselves through brochures on the tables, and posters on the walls each put in $100-200 we have basically covered the shortfall. The community, collectively, positively and energetically, can make the HUB viable and continue its awesome ability to look after the kids who come to our area and our locals who get swept up in the energy and excitement. I note that within minutes of posting a Facebook comment similar to this, two pledges of $100 have already been made- who’s next?

Media 2013

November 21

November 18

November 12


Love it or hate it, Schoolies happens and we need to keep the kids safe. Some things worked well, other things need tweaking, however, our volunteers were outstanding.  Around 100 locals volunteered 24 hours a day for 3 weeks. From providing activities, water and sun screen during the day; to condoms, first aid, a safe meeting place and some pumping DJ sets at night, the Schoolies HUB managed the schoolies phenomenon impressively. Wider aspects that surround Schoolies need more attention: litter, sexual predation, raucous holiday letting amongst residential areas, and some general anti-social behaviour all need more innovative and focused thinking to meet this challenges.

The Schoolies Hub Team!

The Schoolies Hub Team!

Providing non alcoholic options during the day may delay the inevitable drinking

Providing non alcoholic options during the day may delay the inevitable drinking

Typical Byron style! meeting a challenge with an environmental win!

Typical Byron style! meeting a challenge with an environmental win!
One of the negatives, the ol' town cops a bit of a late night beating.

One of the negatives, the ol’ town cops a bit of a late night beating.

Police presence was hard to miss

Police presence was hard to miss

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