Day 16 – 80 percent out in front

It was powerful.






All wrapped into about 100 minutes.

I had heard about this organisation; however, I had not taken the time to fully understand what they do. The perfect opportunity presented itself when the movie came to town (thanks to Gunnedah Shire for arranging).

I learnt about Bernie Shakeshaft and his passion to help youth get back on the tracks. Since founding Backtrack in 2006 Bernie has been determined to turn his vision of working with the most disadvantaged young people in our communities into a reality.

We have three jobs…

keeping kids alive,

keeping kids out of jail,

and helping them chase their hopes and dreams.

The movie was eye-opening in that it is an accurate view into the challenges some of our youth, particularly in regional areas, encounter. And some are way too young to be dealing with what they come up against. These are the youth (usually 12-18 year old) that society has pretty much given up on.

“After being told, “You’re no fucking good” their whole lives, when they first arrive at BackTrack they can hardly look you in the eye. Then as our program starts to kick in, they start showing how resilient and brilliant they really are”

At Backtrack there is no judgement, no force, no pressure. Just the power of showing that someone cares, a sense of belonging, food on the table, roof over your head, where the door is always open and ‘no-one can get kicked out of Backtrack’.

The positive outlook and gentle guidance to look 80% out front, look to the future forges change. You can change your future, you cannot change the past.

Simple messaging, no bells and whistles.

And dogs. The healing power of dogs.

Day 16 of the Advent Calendar for Making a Difference is Backtrack, which is making a difference to the lives of many youth. However, they are turning some away as they cannot physically help all that reach out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they could?

There are several options to help make a difference. There is a donate page. Another option is to plan an event to show the movie as a fundraiser – perhaps that could be on your news years list? The trailer is available, I urge you all to watch it somewhere. It is a powerful story.

Thank you to Bernie and all at Backtrack – everyone deserves to be able to chase their hopes and dreams.


The cover to the movie – I urge you to watch it. It will change you.

The power of dogs will be clear when you watch the movie – Paws Up program


(Image from Backtrack Youth Facebook page)

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