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BushMob: Helping youth get back on track


6 Nov 2013

BushMob’s intention is clear – they want young people in Central Australia who have lost their way to make some positive choices in their lives.

 The Alice Springs-based organisation helps young men and women between the ages of 12 and 25 to reconnect with their culture to help them overcome alcohol and substance abuse problems.

 As its vision says: “Journeys are made in Central Australia by and for young people to get the self-respect, trust, courage and skills to have a good life—because grog, sniffing, drugs and crime are no good”.

 One of the ways BushMob assists people is through its bush adventure therapy program.

 Alice Springs local Chris Ryder is a case worker at BushMob and was riding horses before he could walk.

 He teaches young people bush skills and how to ride and care for horses as a way for them to heal and get their lives back on track.

 Chris says it’s all about the participants and horses respecting each other.

 “I get them in the yard and get to know the horse, touch them, pat them and walk around with them,” Chris said.

 “When the young fellas and the horses get together, it’s like a relationship, so everything works good.”

RYDER: With BushMob I bring the young kids our here and I teach them how to ride.

Lots of young fellas they like to run amok everywhere, but here we tell them not to do that stuff. We tell them to be quiet in this other persons block.

So we just tell them not to run amok.

Lot of young kids we had at BushMob they are sniffers, drugs, alcohol, so we teach them the right way to grow up.

If they do their time at BushMob and finish they can go home.

I get them in the yard and get to know the horse, touch them, pat them and walk around with them. When the young fellas and the horses get together it’s like a relationship, so everything works good.

When I was a little kid I used to just run away from school just to ride horses. I started working with BushMob. Will had a few horses out here already so we started coming out with the young fellas and riding them. A lot of young fellas we had at BushMob come from everywhere, they come from a lot of other communities down south, west, right-up top end. They all come from everywhere.

They ask me to come and ride horse nearly every day here.

These horses are good, they are not scared. They want to meet a lot of young people—the horses are good.

Find out more

Working with communities to tackle alcohol abuse is an important part of Closing the Gap, which is why the Australian Government supports organisations like BushMob.

 Watch the video here to learn more about Bush Mob, or check it out on YouTube.