If you wandered past corner 8 of Track 1 last year, you would have come across a group of young, inspiring individuals marshaling the infamous crash corner. These individuals attended the event for the very first time in 2018 as part of KidzFlip – a youth organisation based in Central Victoria that focuses on keeping at-risk youth engaged, healthy and in education.
This year, this same group of young-adults, are back for the 2019 Energy Breakthrough, but this time you’ll be seeing them on the other side of the barriers!
With a team that ranges from 16-26 participants from 4 different schools in the Macedon Ranges, KidzFlip has joined in on the excitement of the Energy Breakthrough bringing with them two teams.
We caught with the Founder of KidzFlip, Jason Azzopardi, to find out about their journey from creation through to having two teams AND a group of marshals in the 2019 Energy Breakthrough.
KidzFlip From the Beginning…
KidzFlip is the brainchild of Macedon Ranges Police Officer Jason Azzopardi who believed that education and engagement was key to addressing anti-social behaviour that was occurring in the community.
The organisation grew quickly with local organisations coming on board and a Committee that has grown to 14 members. Together, KidzFlip addresses the needs of local kids in the community by providing support and opportunities to be involved in local projects and community organisations such as the Energy Breakthrough, local Lions Club and even helping out with Victoria Police’s number plate replacement days – helping to reduce the theft of Victorian vehicles.
In 2018, the buzz of the Energy Breakthrough began to spread around the community, and the idea to attend came about. Already knowing the value of contributing to the community, the crew decided to volunteer for their first year, and their attendance and involvement in the event only fueled their passion to participate ON the track.
From Volunteers to Competitors…This is KidzFlip Road to Maryborough
EB: What did the KidzFlip participants think of their involvement in the 2018 Energy Breakthrough?
Jason: I had planted the seed about the Energy Breakthrough Challenge well before last year’s event, however as KidzFlip is a community minded approach to learning I had advised the youth that in order to participate in the 2019 Challenge that they would need to attend the 2018 event, learn about what is involved and enjoy the experience but more importantly give back to the community of Maryborough by marshaling the 2018 event. They did this and had a ball, it only fuelled their passion to want to race in 2019. It kept them focused on their education, honed their team building skills and this all assisted the youth in becoming more engaged in their home lives and in assisting the community of Macedon Ranges. The youth this year were awarded a Macedon Ranges Youth Achievement Award, have participated in a Karate Tournament and brought home 7 trophies. They have done nothing other than continue to astound me in the achievements they are reaching.
EB: What was the journey like to go from volunteer to participant?
Jason: I can only say from a organisers point of view that the experience has been nothing short of fast. We have had to improvise somewhat as we had a lengthy wait on our Karts only receiving them 7 weeks ago. But we changed our regime and improvised, we secured Karate training for the participants approximately 7 months ago and they all trained weekly and added this to their Gym session, we then started cycling on weekends in order to strengthen our fitness, we finally got some loan karts from Pip Squeak racing and we then secured a bus loop at a local school and the training in the trikes started weekly on weekends; rain, hail or shine.
The journey has been a huge learning curve.
EB: What support did you receive from the local Macedon Ranges community?
Jason: From the community we had tremendous support, from gym training, karate training and a place to safely train in the karts. KidzFlip has established a group of loyal followers and anything we asked for was graciously provided. Without the support of the community we would have been struggling to enter one team let alone two teams this year. I can’t thank the community enough for believing in the youth and helping them fulfill their dreams.
EB: What are they most looking forward to?
Jason: The youths are really looking forward to getting there and having fun, forging the history of KidzFlip by being the first of 2 teams in the Energy Breakthrough. The youths are also looking forward to being a part of the big experience and achieving.
Here at the Energy Breakthrough we’re about as excited as the KidzFlip team to see them participate in this years Energy Breakthrough. The group will still be completing marshaling duties around the track, so make sure if you see them around that you stop and say hi!
Good luck in your final preparations, we can’t wait to see you show us what you’re made of this weekend!