The Victor Harbor Schoolies Festival, which will be held this weekend is renowned for being one of the most highly organised and successful schoolies festivals in Australia and much of the success must surely be due to the presence of the Encounter Youth Green Team.
The Encounter Youth Green Team are there right throughout the weekend of the annual popular festival.
Over 500 volunteer members of this organisation converge on Victor Harbor during the weekend festival and offer support, advice and information to the thousands of young school leavers who attend the festival.
After 12 or 13 years of formal schooling, the students celebrate the end of their school life as they prepare to make the transition to their next stage as young adults in either the workforce, university education or in an apprenticeship.
Chief Executive Officer of Encounter Youth Nigel Knowles said the volunteers provide much support in so many areas during the festival.
"They provide peer support across the entire SA Schoolies operation to help young people make safer choices and to celebrate in positive and meaningful ways," Mr Knowles said.
The volunteers provide 24/7 support in major accommodation parks in Victor Harbor and Port Elliot and there are three volunteers that are on board each of the 25 Schoolies' Festival Safer Journey buses that transport the schoolies to the festival and return them to their accommodation after each event.
The Green Team also manage each venue inside the festival at Warland Reserve and they patrol local public streets surrounding the festival area to ensure young people are not alone and remain safe at all times.
These volunteers come from various Christian churches right across South Australia and they are specifically trained for this response.
They fundraise throughout the year within their individual churches in order to raise funds to positively engage school leavers by providing a whole range of fun and entertainment including face painting, board games, as well as conducting sausage sizzles and providing free donuts to the festival goers.
The official 2019 Schoolies Festival will be held from November 22 to 24.
"If you are a current Year 12 student planning to head to Victor Harbor, South Australia, you're officially invited to our 21st Schoolies Festival," Mr Knowles said.
Encounter Youth is the largest provider of alcohol and other drug education to South Australian secondary school students and the program is available across Australia.
"Our research-based program incorporates up-to-date trends in young people and is aligned to the Australian Curriculum. We educate students, parents and teachers with strategies that empower young people to look after themselves and their mates," Mr Knowles said.
Established in 2000, Encounter Youth's alcohol and other drug education program is the largest of its type in South Australia.
"Last year alone, we educated nearly 20,000 people. Our program aims to reduce and prevent alcohol and other drug-related harm among young people", he said.
For more information on the Encounter Youth Green Team visit the website www.encounteryouth.com.au