Andy Gourlay co-ordinates over 1700 volunteers in more than 19 Schoolies hot-spots from the Gold Coast to Bali and Vanuatu.
“There is more structured activities, young people seem to be drinking a little less on average and getting to bed earlier but there are still lots of things that go wrong. We are blessed to have been there at the right time to help many, many times,” he told us.
If you have someone you love heading off on Schoolies … pass on this great advice to from the GAP:
GAP Program Top Tips to Survive the Week
- Do your research. Know where you are going, where your hotel is, the public transport and event schedules. Find out what services are offered and how much they will cost. What are the crime rates and the relevant laws and penalties. Every state and country is different.
- Talk to your parents/guardians before you leave home. Discuss concerns and establish communication and welfare strategies in case of emergency or unforeseen circumstances. Prep your phone with relevant phone numbers and contacts.
- On arrival at the hotel, take time to understand the rules and relevant contracts. Store the hotel and your accompanying guest’s phone numbers and address in your phone or notebook. Take photos of the room and check for illegal surveillance devices.
- Have a plan. Discuss with your friends and roommates on a daily basis what you want to do and where you want to go. Establish prearranged meeting points and times near known and public locations in case you become separated or lose your phone.
- Tell people your plans. Where you are going and what time you expect to return. Don’t be afraid to call emergency services if a friend doesn’t return or arrive at a predetermined time or location. Remember, charge your phone before you leave and never leave your mate behind.
- Travel in pairs at a minimum: Always walk through well-lit public places. If you find yourself alone move to a public space or shop and call a friend. Try to avoid known hotspots e.g. Orchard Ave on The Gold Coast after 12pm. Walk away from conflict and avoid getting involved in altercations.
- Try to limit excessive drinking and be conscious of drink spiking. Always purchase or prepare your own drinks and always be conscious of the amount you and your friends are drinking. Don’t accept drinks from strangers and don’t leave drinks unattended.
- Don’t do drugs, simple. Drug dealers often use Schoolies as a place to test and distribute illicit substances. If you think you may be affected by drugs, tell someone immediately. Schoolies is not the place to experiment.
- Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you have concerns, don’t be afraid to say “No” and walk away from a situation.
- Be aware: Photos, media reports and criminal records last forever and could have negative implications later on in life.
Have fun, but remember personal security and welfare should be your number one priority. Stay safe and enjoy the celebrations.