Dive program a chance for youth

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
First Class Constable Andy Goddard and Pilbara Dive and Tours owner Natalie Callanan.
Camera IconFirst Class Constable Andy Goddard and Pilbara Dive and Tours owner Natalie Callanan. Credit: Shannon Beattie

Great Southern police want to bring a successful diving program for troubled youth to Albany waters.

The programI Live, I Learn, I Divewas founded by Karratha police youth officer First Class Constable Andy Goddard, who has seen it change the lives of youths in his Pilbara community.

Const. Goddard held a presentation for local police and stakeholders on Friday, speaking about how the program could be implemented in Albany.

Great Southern Superintendent Ian Clarke is confident they can make it happen here.

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The program would involve local police officers partnering with a diving group to get at-risk youth involved in scuba diving courses.

There are two branches of the program — the Youth Dive Education Program and the Indigenous Youth Dive Education Program — which is run n partnership with Karratha Senior High School and Clontarf Karratha.

The courses give participants employment opportunities, promote healthy bodies and minds, and teach them new skills.

The program began when Const. Goddard, who had a professional career in diving, overcame two forms of cancer and resolved to use his life to make a difference to youth.

Speaking about the 100 per cent success rate the program had had in the Pilbara, Const. Goddard said it had helped keep kids out of the court system.

“The program’s about engaging kids and getting them off the street and into school, and given the success of theprogram in the Pilbara, that is why I am here in Albany — to develop it in this area,” he said.

“The area has a lot of issues that we identify with in the Pilbara region — drugs, alcohol and more.

“It is something new for the kids and I am sure they will want to go out and dive and see what is in the ocean around Albany.

“Diving myself, it gave me the structure in life that I needed.

“I can identify with a lot of kids that come from broken homes because I came from a broken home and needed to get away.”

Supt Clarke said he was confident the program would come to Albany.

“Albany already is a tourism mecca for the Great Southern and WA. It provides great diving opportunities and we have three wrecks that people can dive on,” he said.

“It’s a chance for our young people to get involved in an exciting program that can lead to significant advantages for them going forward in their lives.

The presentation was the first step in the process. Great Southern police are hopeful the program will be up and running next year.

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