Drink Tank

We are the Champions

Since November 2012, the Champions ACT campaign has been encouraging young people in Canberra to assume the role of the Champion when drinking with friends in local, licensed venues. The idea of the Champion – someone who gets themselves and their friends home safe – prompted the creation of strategies like The Ninja, The Magician, The Wrangler, and more recently The Chauffeur, each of which can be used by young people to help identify risks and minimize the harms associated with drinking in any of Canberra’s entertainment precincts.

Young people aged 18 – 24 who reside in the ACT or surrounding areas are now being invited to come up with an original idea for a Champion and create an accompanying 90-second promotional video. The winning entry, as determined by a panel of celebrity judges, will win $1,500. The people’s choice award, as determined by the most ‘likes’ on Facebook, will win $500.

The Champions ACT promotional team has continued promoting the campaign and its messaging in prominent Canberra venues and at major youth-focused events, which included last week’s university market days.

The promotional team at the Australian National University partnered with Hello Sunday Morning and ran a series of activities involving beer goggles. Participants wore the goggles, which simulated the vision distortion of having a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of three times the legal driving limit. The challenge for participants was to throw a ball into a basket two metres away with beer-goggle vision. The success rate was expectedly low: the few who got the ball in the basket took around five attempts and all who participated were shocked that a simulated BAC of 0.10 – 0.15 impeded their motor skills so significantly.

At the University of Canberra, we again partnered with the Sobering Up Shelter to run similar beer goggle activities and surveys. Around 250 young people have, in the last month, completed the newest Champions ACT survey. Evaluation periods for the campaign serve to quantify the success of the campaign, as well as provide ongoing direction. The newest survey asks young people about their experiences while out drinking in Canberra, specifically whether they have had experiences with or been involved in assaults, injuries, interaction with the police or the Sobering Up Shelter, vomiting, public urination, or alcohol-related illnesses.

Jacob Wray

Jacob is a Project Officer at the Youth Coalition of the ACT, the territory’s peak body for youth affairs. Jacob has worked on the Champions ACT campaign since September 2012, which aims to encourage young people to look after their friends when out drinking. He will also be the ACT National Youth Week Coordinator for 2014 and previously advised the New Youth Wales Minister for Youth.

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