The awards recognise and reward excellence in the outdoors community. They celebrate individuals, organisations, programs, events and activities that have been successful in significantly improving outcomes for participants, clients and communities.
Aptly called Where Youth Live Dreams (WYLD) the Bundaberg not-for-profit undertakes collaborative joint venture projects where they connect youth with community and culture.
Executive director Brad Crosbie said the organisation was created after the 2013 floods.
“WYLD Projects was established out of the Bundaberg floods where we were engaging disengaged youth to get out and support our community,” Brad said.
“We started helping primary producers that were in need and recovering from the floods by taking young Indigenous youth out and also getting them to upskill and show them that it was better to give than take.”
From that disaster, The Better to Give program was created.
That program is still running today. It focuses on connecting Indigenous youth in the Bundaberg/Fraser Coast regions to community and culture while also delivering qualifications in conservation land management and rural operations.
These are achieved through collaborative partnerships with traditional owner groups, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, the Burnett Mary Regional Group, HQ Plantations, landowners, and NGOs.
Hundreds of young Indigenous people across the region have utilised the program and Brad said it was an important asset for many as it assisted them to pursue employment or further education.
“The most rewarding part is probably taking these fellas on a journey onto these rural and remote properties,” he said.
“Once we're on those properties, a lot of landowners are not greatly educated about Aboriginal people, so it gives us an opportunity to break down those barriers.
“It’s about us connecting with landowners and saying, ‘well, we're just here to give you a hand’ and at the same time we're going to upskill these young guys.
“It’s good as we connect them with community, connect them with people who lead into jobs and help transition to further tertiary studies or employment.”
The group also undertakes conservation activities in the lower Burnett Region, working to protect the critically endangered white throated snapping turtle from introduced pests.
Brad said he was surprised to learn of WYLD’s nomination in the Outdoors Queensland Awards, even more so when they were named as a finalist.
“It’s nice to be named as a finalist because it means they must value what we’re doing and we probably don't put ourselves forward that much,” he said.
“Not too many people know what we do as we just get on do with what we do, so it is good to get that recognition.”
The Outdoors Queensland Awards winner will be announced on Friday, October 30.