Forty years ago a disco was held for young, bored children in Mooroolbark.
Those young people had complained they had nothing to do.
So local police put their thinking caps on and held a dance. It was a big success.
Little did anyone know at the time it was going to become one of the biggest events on the monthly calendar for young people across the nation.
This was the beginning of Blue Light in Victoria.
Today more than six million young youths can say they’ve attended a Blue Light Disco.
And unlike many trends, the popularity of the monthly dance has gone from strength to strength.
It’s become generational, with parents who once jived to 80s pop now taking their own children.
Ballarat Police Blue Light Committee chair Des Hudson said Ballarat hasn’t been immune to the infectious fun that comes with each disco.
“Ballarat has also had Blue Lights for a significant period, many many locals would remember them being at the Civic Hall,” he said.
Leading Senior Constable Hudson said part of the aim of the discos back in the seventies was crime prevention and helping youths who were at risk of antisocial behaviour.
Today it’s a chance for youths to let their hair down in a safe environment.
“It’s (also) about demonstrating to young people police are approachable, they’re friendly and they are members of the community,” Leading Senior Constable Hudson said.
With one disco left for 2016, Leading Senior Constable Hudson is encouraging new parents and youths to give it a try.
“We tend to see the same faces and same parents who are comfortable dropping their kids off to us, but we would like to continue growing our audience,” he said.
“We want kids to know this is an opportunity to hang out with friends … in a safe environment.”
The next disco will be held on Friday, December 9 between 7-9 at the Sebastopol RSL Hall. Entry: $7
For more information visit @ballaratbluelightdisco on Facebook
Leading the way in respect
When Leading Senior Constable Des Hudson walked into Mount Clear Primary School’s assembly on Friday morning the students sat up straight.
No, no one was in trouble.
In fact it was quite the opposite.
Leading Senior Constable Hudson, who is also chair of the Ballarat Police Blue Light Committee, came bearing good news.
He had Blue Light student of the month awards to hand out to four students who had showed a number of core values in school, including respect to fellow classmates and teachers, and making the school a great place for everyone.
The Blue Light student of the month program, which kicked off for the first time earlier this year, is currently in place at 10 Ballarat primary schools.
Leading Senior Constable Hudson said the award mirrored the Blue Ribbon Spirit of Sport Awards Program which rewards young participants in team sport for sportsmanship, fair play and mutual respect.
While encouraging young people to become better role models, Leading Senior Constable Hudson said it also aimed to create familiarity between local police members and young people.
“We want them to see us as members of the community who can provide assistance,” he said.
As part of the initiative, which aimed to create awareness there is no longer an age limit on being a positive community citizen, the students were awarded a medal and certificate, and a double pass to next week’s Blue Light Disco.
“By giving them a pass to Blue Light it exposes them and their parents to the disco and shows them it’s a safe environment,” Leading Senior Constable Hudson said.
The successful program was recently awarded a $9000 community grant, making it viable for the next three years in Ballarat.