The new regional school chaplaincy initiative, Backing Our Youth, launched in February and it’s now full steam ahead on this exciting campaign.
The Vanderfield team took the chance to join with Mackay High students to launch its Backing Our Youth (BOY) initiative which will see a percentage from every tractor sold across Queensland, in the next six months, supporting programs and projects that build resilience in young Queenslanders.
Vanderfield co-owner, Bruce Vandersee, says years of drought and negative rhetoric around economic conditions and social issues – such as substance abuse – have sapped confidence, particularly in young people.
This Backing Our Youth initiative is about reminding young people that there were plenty of reasons to be hopeful.
“Every day we deal with great people in the bush, people who want to serve our communities and make a difference,” Mr Vandersee said.
“In our experience when you resource these people to serve our young people they have a big impact. There is so much potential in our young people but we all need to step up and do our bit to resource this potential”.
The Vanderfield proceeds will be channelled into a fund, run by the Artesian Foundation, with SU QLD chaplains able to apply for grants to resource efforts to engage and empower young people.
Bruce Vandersee said the Backing Our Youth initiative was a great way for companies to support young people in the bush, because it created a sustainable revenue stream for regional projects.
“For most companies philanthropy looks like this – we get asked to a dinner, or receive a letter and we write a cheque. Backing Our Youth means giving back to local communities is linked to our core business. It also involves our clients – every time they buy a tractor, they are investing in the young people in their community,” Mr Vandersee said.
So far, the BOY initiative has supported a brekky club in the Lockyer, providing a healthy start for more than 400 students a week and will help fund grounds care equipment for Mackay High students as part of their ‘Strength’ program building their confidence through workplace mentoring.
Mr Vandersee is calling on other companies to join BOY and invest in the next generation.
“Young people receive a lot of bad press but they face unprecedented hurdles. Our experience is the right investment of people and financial resources goes a long way to build hope and resilience. And the more we invest, the more we benefit as a community and a business.”
Mackay cane grower, George Williams – a long time Vanderfield client – said BOY gave him another reason to buy Vanderfield.
“John Deere is our brand of tractor but now I’ve seen the impact these chaplains have in shepherding our kids through tough times.”
To get behind this exciting initiative for regional school chaplaincy, visit the website backingouryouth.org.au.