“Growing up is not that bad. We hope that the kids see that there are careers and paths where adults can have fun in their jobs.”
Kane Piper, General Operations Manager from Canberra Motorcycle Centre in Fyshwick, loves his job. He and the folk who run this family-focused business, recognise the appeal that motorcycles and people who ride them has for young people.
They want to harness that interest and potentially spark life-changing redirection and focus. To this end, CMC and Canberra PCYC (CPCYC) are collaborating to provide a unique opportunity for at-risk youths.
A group of 10-12 Canberra PCYC-involved youth will participate in a three-day program. On the first day, they will come out to the dealership, meet the team and tour the workshop. CMC’s mechanics will take them through basic troubleshooting- how to change a tyre and how to change a brake lever and other practical skills.
The real fun begins on day two. The CPCYC have their own fleet of dirt bikes. CMC ambassadors, well-known bike riders from the community, will come and chat to the youth about ‘getting to know your bike’.
Then, in the workshop, under the guidance of the mechanics and the ambassadors, the participants will each detail and fix up a dirt bike that they will later ride.
Day three is riding day. Fairburn motocross track has generously offered their track for a half-day of riding. CMC’s ambassadors will give some basic rider training and will hang out with the participants on the day.
The beauty of the new partnership with the CPCYC is twofold. The insurance, logistics, supervision and legal parameters are already in place and the CPCYC is Fyshwick-based. CPCYC staff will be present as the youth complete the three- day program.
Kane has long had a heart for reaching out to disadvantaged youth, but his earlier endeavours became bogged by logistics, transportation and insurance issues. “We have great people around our business and we have a cool product,” he says.
Now, his face lights up as he anticipates the excitement the youths will experience on seeing the workshop. “Our workshop is state of the art. We have ten mechanics who work on superbike race teams! We’ve got great people who are going to talk to these kids.
‘”All the guys coming in to mentor, they change their own tires, they do their own fuel and oil. These mentors will really push that the kids need to wash, service and work on the bikes themselves because that ownership and that responsibility will bring a whole lot more meaning to their first ride.
“These guys are cool. They are going to be the guys that do wheelies down the track and 20 feet jumps on the day, and the kids are going to love it. They are my own inspiration; I would have loved to have met them as a 14 or 15-year-old kid.”
Kane hopes that the interactions and the experience captivate and inspires those who attend the program. He anticipates that this initiative will become something the CMC/CPCYC partnership can offer to disadvantaged youth in CPCYC each year.
Cheryl O’Donnell, Canberra PCYC’s Executive Manager is thrilled about the program. She says that when she was approached by Kane about the idea, she was “over the moon that the CMC was keen to put a project like this together to support these young people on CPCYC programs.”
The young people come from disadvantaged backgrounds and have either disengaged from education or are at risk of or already are involved with the Youth Justice system.
“Having a business with the passion to turn these kids lives around is wonderful,” Cheryl says. “It will provide them with an insight into what it is like ‘work experience’ wise but also to gain much needed mentoring and role modelling that; will make a massive difference. In some situations, one conversation is all it takes to change their direction in life for the better.
“We have told a number of the young participants already about the project and they are super excited. We already have kids who can’t wait for this project to start and other parents with young people on our programs asking if their child can participate.
“We are sincerely grateful to Dale, Kane and the team from CMC for having the vision to change young peoples’ lives.”
Kane would be grateful for donations of any great gear in good condition that your kids have grown out of. CMC is located at 30 Ipswich St in Fyshwick and open from 8:30 am – 5:30 pm weekdays and on Saturdays 8:30 am – 3 pm. Contact them by phone on (02) 6280 4491.
If you want to know more about Canberra PCYC contact them by phone on (02) 62967822 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.