Sergeant Penni Rendan and Volunteer Greg from WynBay Blue Light Disco Committee
Sergeant Penni Renden (active member of Victoria Police and President of WynBay Blue Light Disco Committee) and Greg Leaman (Volunteer and Committee member of WynBay Blue Light Disco) attend the club tonight to talk about the WynBay Blue Light Disco and how it works to develop young leaders in the Wyndham and Hobsons Bay communities.
WynBay Blue Light Discos (formerly Altona North Blue Light Disco) is located in Point Cook and held on a monthly basis on a Friday night from 6pm to 9:30pm. Cost of entry is $8 for primary age school children.
The memories of Blue Light Discos meant different things to different members: volunteering as Apexians in the 1980’s, attending the discos as kids at the then Centennial Hall (now Wyndham Cultural centre). The memories are happy ones for everyone and the tradition still continues to this day.
The discos have different themes each month such as footy fever, superheroes, Halloween, etc. and approximately 160 – 180 kids attend each one. For safety the kids are dropped off by adults and not allowed to exit the venue until someone comes inside to collect them. It is a very safe environment with volunteers from the community and the Victoria Police assisting at each event.
Funding is very limited and rely on the generosity of local business such as The Good Guys in Hoppers Crossing who donate the door prize each month, vouchers to be given away from the Pancake Parlour at Pacific Werribee, Di Caprios Family Restaurant in Hoppers Crossing, just to name a few.
The $8 entry fee has to cover the insurance for each child, which costs $2 per person, the cost of hiring the DJ and the venue hire costs charge by council. They also have a slushy machine for the kids which basically pays for itself from the sales and a canteen which sell discounted items but still a minor profit is made to help cover costs.
When students arrive at the disco, they are asked what school they attend so that the committee can make sure the school’s who are supporting the events the most, are approached about the Leadership Camps.
The committee of WynBay are very focussed on developing future leaders in the community and have been holding leadership camps on an annual basis as a follow on from the discos. All money raised is invested into the Leadership Camps, which are held down in Angelsea. The cost of running the camp is approximately $6,000 – $7,000. All adults attending volunteer their time.
Roughly 50 students are sent to the Leadership camp, which is completely free of charge to the students. Primary Schools in the area are contact at the beginning of the year to help identify appropriate students to attend the camp. The committee gives some guidance as to how to select appropriate children including identifying students who are the quite achieved and rarely get recognised compared to the more animated students who seek constant attention. Also priority is given to the more underprivileged kids whose parents would not be able to financially support their child attending such an event.
The camp is held over a weekend. Victoria Police donates their Coach to transport the kids to their camp. The kids are picked up from their school Friday night and returned to their school on the Sunday afternoon. Activities that they get to do are sports, orienteering, confidence building activities, etc. There are four teams set up at the camp and challenges are set for teams to win points. Prizes are given out for all types of reasons on the final day.
From the outcome of the camp, the WynBay Blue Light Disco Committee identifies and approaches kids to join their junior committee. The junior committee then assists at future discos and also acts as team leaders at future camps.
Police used to be given time in lieu for attending the events however due to budget restraints this had to stop. The active police who volunteer at the discos continued to do so as they found it quite rewarding and don’t mind donating their time to the local youth.
Sergeant Penni and the Little Pink Hat – See our Bulletins to understand what the Little Pink Hat stands for.
Feedback received on their Facebook page was from secondary school students complaining that they were unable to attend so the committee attempted three secondary school discos and they were poorly attended so this had to stop as they were making a loss from these events which they could not afford to do.
One of the other great outcomes from these discos is the relationship developed with parents and local police. Parents will approach them for advice and guidance regarding their child. Relationships and a sense of trust is also developed with the police offices and the kids attending. They get to see that police offices can have fun and are approachable and that if they ever needed help they can approach a police office without fear of intimidation.
Youth Committee Deputy Chair Alan expressed the club’s gratitude for the presentation and suggested that our club now had “food for thought” and would consider how we may be able to support the group in the future.
Cost of running discos is quite high and financial support is invited, not only to offset operating expenses of each disco, but also to support the year end camps for disadvantaged children, as any profits from running Blue Light discos is used for this purpose.
You are able to donate through their Facebook page.
Please go and check out their Facebook page and ‘Like’ them. It can be found at: WynBay Blue Light Disco.
Thanks to Penni and Greg for a very informative presentation.