Byron braces for schoolies
BYRON Bay is bracing itself for the arrival of 10,000 party-hungry, hormonal school leavers with the opening tomorrow of Schoolies 2015.
The annual event celebrated by hundreds of thousands of graduates around the country once saw hi jinx in Byron Bay hit a yearly high.
Healthy space for schoolies
While that has changed in recent years thanks to an initiative to provide healthy spaces for schoolies, it's still a mammoth effort to contain all those hormones.
Jenny Bowman from Byron Beachfront Apartments said some accommodation providers preferred to close their doors for the fortnight and not embrace the event.
But as a qualified drug and alcohol counsellor, Ms Bowman said she was happy to open.
"I'm clinically qualified, so when the kids start getting unwell, I know how to treat them," she said.
There are ground rules
She sets the ground rules early - taking guests through harm minimisation strategies, advising young groups to stay together, and giving them wrist bands so visitors can't come in uninvited.
"If you set some boundaries they actually feel safe... sometimes by the end of it they call you mum."
Coordinator of the Byron Schoolies Safety Response Nicqui Yazdi said schoolies were no longer treated like pesky young brats but as a new generation of tourists.
New generation of tourists
Ms Yazdi will open the Byron Schoolies Hub today at Main Beach park, welcoming the youngsters with free pancakes, chai, and nightly DJing courtesy of the Red Frogs volunteers.
Since the initiative launched seven years ago it's ended the wave of petty crime that once dominated.
"Two years ago there were zero schoolie-related incidents, and last year there was one," Ms Yazdi said.