RuffTrack youths demonstrate skills, outcomes of successful trial program

Over 100 community members turned out to support the RuffTrack Riverstone lads at their end-of-year presentation on December 27, celebrating the successful completion of a 12-week pilot program designed to keep local youths on the straight-and-narrow.

Six lads presented the celebration at the RuffTrack farm in Riverstone, with the audience enjoying and trying-out the K9 Ninja Challenge, Sheep Herding, the K9 Super Wall, Whip Cracking, Lasso Throwing, Alpaca Hugging, and Pat-a-Pooch activities.

Farmer Dave Graham, who runs the youth program in conjunction with Hawkesbury Police, thanked the supporters and families who attended to cheer on the participants as they showed-off their skills and outcomes of 2019.

"Even though our pilot ended just before December, these boys have been taking turns coming every day, including weekends, to train their animals and to prepare the displays," Farmer Dave said.

"Our lads are looking forward to helping in 2020 when the Hawkesbury Police invite another group of young boys and girls aged between 13-15 years."

RuffTrack is modelled after Bernie Shakeshaft's successful Armidale charity BackTrack where troubled youth are taught life-skills and how to train high-jumping dogs.

Bernie's program is featured in the documentary BackTrack Boys and the book Back on Track, raising international attention and a nomination for the 2020 Australian of the Year.