It was hard for the hundreds of youth that attended the West Arnhem Sports Carnival in Maningrida last month not to have fun with the NT Early Intervention Pilot Program (NTEIPP) crew, Blue Light Disco and local dancing Police Officer, Csaba Boja getting involved in the action.
Students from Ramingining, Gapuwiyak, Shepherdson, Milingimbi, Maningrida and Warruwi participated in a variety of sports and fun activities supported by the local community.
NTEIPP Youth Outreach Officer Kay Balnaves said this annual event that moves around the communities, was a great opportunity for youth to enjoy recreational activities and engage with Police.
“It was fantastic to see the whole community attending, supporting and participating in activities,” she said.
“Maningrida CEPO Csaba Boja, affectionately known as 'Chubba,' was like a local celebrity and he got involved with activities from score keeping, road blocks, selling glow sticks and busting some pretty impressive dance moves at the NT Police Blue Light disco.”
Meet Maningrida’s favourite CEPO
How long have you been in Maningrida for?
After completing my induction as the Community Engagement Officer, I commenced my duties here in the community of Maningrida on the 8th of August 2011. There aren’t too many people around here I don’t know.
Was it difficult to organise an event like the Sports Carnival?
The Arnhem Land Sports festival consists of about 6 Arnhem Land remote community’s that partake in the festival and every 5 years it comes back to Maningrida. The school is the main hub and there was a major contribution from the Principal(s), staff, all the teachers (not only from Maningrida) but their respective competing schools. Stakeholders in the community such as BAC (Night Patrol/Child Safety) also got behind the event as well. We all worked together
I guess the whole message of the festival, is about healthy lifestyles and nutrition and competitiveness, both as an individual or in a team environment and encouraging youth to show respect for each other. It went really well and I had a fun time as well as the kids.
What’s the best thing about being a CEPO?
The best part about working in a remote community is definitely the local indigenous persons that reside in these community’s. They are very receptive and engaging and the wider community, young and old, have embraced the newly established role as the CEPO, as well as me as a person—they love their Chubba!.
What makes Maningrida a great place to live and work?
What I have found is the people make the difference here in Maningrida. They are so friendly and caring. Too often it’s the simplistic things we take for granted that these people embrace.
What’s the hardest thing about being remote?
Obviously there are challenges and obstacles that you have to overcome and we all have to work within limited resources without being able to access the same opportunities offered in the ‘big smoke.’
Why apply for a CEPO Position?
I worked in Warruwi Themis for 6 months as the Brevet Sergeant and that’s where I got the bug to do community engagement policing. I applied for the Maningrida posting as a CEPO because I think I needed a change from general duties policing. I’d had enough of dealing with drunks, violence etc and wanted to have a more positive approach to policing and give something back to the community—a sense of self fulfilment.