A boys youth program which has expanded from camps to mentor work with vulnerable young men in regional communities is on the verge of its first major award.
Border-founded Boys to the Bush has been announced as a finalist for the regional NSW and ACT Community Achievement Awards, in the connecting communities category, for its efforts in youth preventive intervention.
Chief executive Adam DeMamiel formed the group alongside fellow school teachers Richard Leahy and Tim Sanson.
What started out as a small organisation of four full-time employees on the Border now has more than 30 staff and another 50 casuals who help run programs for disadvantaged young men across NSW.
Mr DeMamiel said if Boys to the Bush was to win the award it would not only be for the work done within the organisation, but a way to recognise all of the support from the community.
"We rely on the community to make it work. It's not just people donating money and sponsoring us, it's farmers who let us on their properties, it's the bakery that donates some bread," he said.
"It's about us providing a platform for the community to be involved in supporting these kids.
"The majority of the kids we work with are our communities' most vulnerable and don't have great support networks around them.
"We see it as our duty of care to provide that network for them and use the rapport we build with the kids to introduce them to all the good things in this community.
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"You need that buy-in from the community, which is something we'll be pushing a lot more.
"It's been built by a number of people, but we have a board of directors who govern the organisation.
"We've been really lucky the people who are on our board and have been on our board truly believe in what we're doing and want to use their networks to increase our impact in a sustainable manner."
Mr DeMamiel revealed the organisation has plans to spread its work to Victoria with a new branch to be set up at Wangaratta this year.
"It was born in Albury-Wodonga and we want the Border community to be proud of what we've achieved," he added.
"Any support offered to us locally, stays local."
Boys to the Bush is also a finalist for the NSW Community Achievement Awards people's choice.
Voting can be completed at awardsaustralia.app.do/nswcaa21.
Boys to the Bush has a Border community information session in the pipeline to let people know more about what the group does and how they can get involved.
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