BackTrack is an organisation based in Armidale, New South Wales that has taken on the challenge of aiding young people who’ve lost their way in the community. BackTrack offers young people the opportunity to reconnect with education and training, and helps them become work ready, find jobs and lead happy and productive lives. Based on the ideal that community participation can improve the overall outcomes of youth, the BackTrack team are a talented and supportive group of people, well experienced in youth work and services.
BackTrack was founded by Bernie Shakeshaft after he worked for over 20 years in youth services, Bernie’s vision was to create a model of youth work that redefined what achievements were possible to those who’d lost their way. The program has won a number of awards including the Premier of New South Wales Community Service award in 2010. One particularly successful program that BackTrack implemented in its early days is ‘Paws Up’. Paws Up began as a way to engage youth and has developed into a highly successful dog high jumping team that travels to shows and invitational events throughout Australia. Through the dogs, the youth connect with others, build trust, learn self-discipline while disciplining the dogs, learn self confidence from public performance, communication skills as they interact on the show circuit and manage themselves and their dogs in varying situations. The dogs are a strong and persistent tool for talking through the difficult issues in life.
Another BackTrack program we support through financial aid is Ag Lads, which was developed to address our region’s growing trade and agricultural skills shortages. Greater Bank has provided the funding for a co-ordinator to be employed to run this program. Due to this, Ag Lads has since progressed as an innovative, industry led program used to create job opportunities in regional communities.
Check out the BackTrack website here.