The SYC Information Van
21 Jan 2018
Relentless belief in people and their potential: SYC cares and will support a person to find stability and prosperity.
Youth and Information
Extract from 1977 Annual Report
As a result of a survey of “at risk” young people in Adelaide conducted by the S.Y.C. in March 1976, staff became aware of a desperate need in the community for young people to have access to the information they needed to deal with situations that arose in their lives.
And idea for a mobile service or “rap-van” from the Riverdale Youth Services of the Jewish Family Service of New York prompted S.Y.C. to experiment in October 1976 with a 22ft information caravan. Initially S.Y.C. borrowed a van from the Port Adelaide Community Council and tried out the idea at a Life Expo for Youth at the Wayville Showground, Port Pirie’s Centenary celebrations, Heathfield High School and a street setting in the Henley area. More than 1,400 young people passed through the van at the Life Expo, 386 people used the van at Port Pirie and almost all junior high school students at Heathfield used the service.
Our initial success with the van prompted the S.Y.C. to seek funding from various sources to obtain a vehicle of our own. Seeing the potential of the service, the Rotary Club of Adelaide donated $4,000 towards the cost of establishing the service, and we are hopeful that additional funds for ancillary costs and minor equipment will be made available by the Department of Mental health
Since owning our own vehicle, the S.Y.C has used it for a variety of purposes. A visit to Royal Park High School, parked near Commonwealth Employment Service offices in Adelaide and near a Job Hunters Club (Y.O.U.) in Morphett Vale and at Tea Tree Plaza during Drug Awareness Week.
Information Van Program
Extract from 1978 Annual Report
We have used the van in schools to disseminate information, in street settings to assist streetworkers, as a mobile drop-in centre, outside Commonwealth Employment Service offices, and hired it out to other community organisations for various purposes. One of the difficulties of the program is the inability of other community organisations to keep up with the demand from young people for printed literature.
What Happened to the Information Van?
Extract from 1988 History of SYC
The Information Van Project was so successful it had to be closed down, because the involved organisations could not keep up with the demand by young people for information. Wherever the van went it was stripped of information by young people. The organisations said that they could no longer keep up with the demand. SYC printed some of its own material but this was insufficient to keep the van fully stocked. The van was eventually sold to the Scouting Movement as a recruitment van.
The legacy of the SYC Information Van has lived on since its closure in late 1978. SYC still saw a high demand from young people for information about challenges they face. This saw the development of the City Survival Kit, the Community Awareness Publications and later the Rental Kit and Where to Go publications that we still use today. Keep your eyes peeled for more stories on the development and use of these materials across the years.