VERTO donation supports unique youth initiative

Not-for-profit employment, training, and apprenticeships organisation, VERTO, has thrown its support behind a unique initiative helping youth in detention at the Frank Baxter Youth Justice Centre in Kariong, on the Central Coast of NSW

A brainchild of the Tarragal Outrigger Canoe Club, the program helps Aboriginal youth in detention to access new sporting pathways through good behaviour. The program also provides a sense of culture and belonging, a pathway to improved mental health, while assisting with reintegration into society and reducing the probability of reoffending.

“These youth have nothing, and as a new club, we had nothing to provide them in terms of safety and clothing that was fit for purpose for water-based paddling activities,” Tarragal Outrigger Canoe Club President Louise Vangestel said.

“VERTO kindly donated hats, drink bottles, back packs and 12 ocean rated Personal Floatation Vests (PFDs) to help this program and the youth we are mentoring.

“To be able to give these youth a welcome gift and help them feel connected to us as part of their mob, while removing any barrier to enter the sport of outrigging, was important for them and the Frank Baxter Youth Justice Centre.

“The centre is delighted to give the youth a sporting option that is outside of the usual rugby or ball sports. They feel that being on the water and learning about the ocean, the canoes and the outrigger family they are now a part of, will positively impact their mental health and motivate them to make better choices for the future.”

VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said his organisation was proud to continue its long history of helping clubs and organisations that give back to their local communities.

“The Tarragal Outrigger Canoe Club’s mission aligns closely with VERTO’s goal to positively transform the lives of individuals and communities, so it’s fantastic to be able to support such an important new program with these donations,” he said.

“We’re really proud to team with the Tarragal Outrigger Canoe Club and play a small role in helping these youth, while continuing to play an active role within our communities towards improving outcomes for Indigenous Australians.”


The Tarragal Outrigger Canoe Club Inc (TOCC) is on Darkinjung Country, based at The Haven, Terrigal. 

TOCC is Australia’s first Aboriginal culture-based club with a vision to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and water on which their canoes rest, and to culturally educate all members on the importance of bridging the gap. The club is inclusive of anyone who wants to paddle, but members are encouraged to undertake cultural awareness training.