EDGE Expands Horizons

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At Clermont High School, young individuals are not only breaking a sweat but are also breaking down barriers with the Blue EDGE program, a joint initiative of the Clermont Police Station and the school.

@ The Coalface had a chance recently to chat with Sergeant Steve French, about this impactful program which involves a blend of physical training and life skills education that aims to expand a young person’s physical and mental horizons.

The acronym EDGE stands for Educate, Develop, Grow, and Empower, which ties seamlessly with the program’s objectives. The “Blue” indicates it’s a police-driven initiative, managed by the Queensland Blue Light Association. The name perfectly encapsulates the ethos and vision of the initiative.

Sergeant French explained that the Blue EDGE program has been available to Police to utilise for a number of years however it only commenced in Clermont last year.

“When I arrived in Clermont in 2022, there were no dedicated engagement activities for the high school youth. The inception of the Clermont Blue EDGE program during Term 3 of 2022 bridged this gap.”

This initiative, made possible with financial backing from Glencore’s Clermont Open Cut operation and the Drug and Alcohol Foundation, encompasses vital topics such as nutrition, mental and physical health, drugs, alcohol, goal setting, and exploring career pathways.

Over an 8-week duration, participants attend two sessions each week, starting their day with 45 minutes of physical training followed by a wholesome breakfast.

“We then transition to the “thinking” part where we discuss various life-skills. Students, irrespective of their backgrounds, come out of their shells. Their fitness levels rise and many who were once hesitant are now actively participating, even leading sessions,” said Sergeant French.

This terms program features an outstanding line-up of guest speakers, each bringing a wealth of knowledge. Annette Billiau of Highlands Nutrition in Emerald delves into nutrition, while Matt Martin from Clear Sky Counselling and Support Services offers insights into personal branding. Dr. Sarah Mclay of Clermont Country Practice underscores the importance of sleep and mental health. Chris Mclean from C-Mac Electrical in Clermont shares his journey, highlighting goal setting derived from his experiences in rugby league development and entrepreneurship. Each session is thoughtfully curated, emphasising a holistic approach to development. However, the program isn’t just about hard work.

“The final EDGE serves as both a graduation and a day filled with a variety of team-building events, outside of the school environment. We try and pick activities which tie into the interests of the group while also developing their leadership skills,” said Sergeant French.

One of the standout successes of the program is the rapport-building between students, their families, the police, and the Queensland Blue Light Association Volunteers.

“The more positive relationships we have in a community, the easier it is to do our core policing work, and for this reason we prioritise community engagement activities highly. We try and get as many of our Police Officers involved in this program as we can so that we all benefit from it,” he said.

“Glencore’s financial support has been vital in allowing us to deliver this program. We wanted to run a fully funded program that did not put any financial pressure on the High School or the participants. Glencore’s Clermont Open Cut operation has been an ongoing supporter of many of our different engagement activities and can always be counted on to assist in activities that positively support the Clermont community.”

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