Founded in 2008 by Brisbane native Ross Barns, the HYPAR Group has grown into three core service providers, each with a tailored approach to meet the needs and interests of each participant.
Born in Redcliffe, and raised in Deception Bay, Ross had a childhood similar to many, but one that brought challenges and life transitions that shaped his early life. These challenges manifested due to a sense of isolation but would eventually be overcome in the shape of supportive family, positive role models and mentors, and finding purpose and identity within the community. Without those supports, his life could have been very different.
Armed with these experiences, and an empathy and understanding of the challenges many Young People face, Ross developed a drive to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged and marginalised young males.
Through being involved with community organisations, Ross began working with Youth Groups and quickly found he had a passion to help other young males who were lacking support and in need of positive male role models to guide healthier life choices.
While at the Youth Group, a colleague recognised Ross’ ability to connect with males with extreme behaviours, as well as young offenders, which led to a role with Youth Justice. This was an eye-opener. After some early challenges, Ross quickly identified that building trusting relationships with Young People was the foundation for positive change. By wanting to understand each Young Person’s journey, and why many were repeat offenders, Ross identified that additional supports could be offered to help support Young People within the system, which would complement the good work the Department was already practicing.
These supports came in the form of Mentoring and engaging Young People in activities that interested them, like long surf trips to the Sunshine Coast. With a supportive and therapeutic approach, Ross saw many positive changes in the Young People he was working with, and they began to channel their energy more positively.
Out of these foundations, HYPAR was born. After gaining some early momentum, Ross quickly assembled a team of like-minded Youth Workers to offer male-to-male Mentoring to Young People within the Youth Justice system, with a support service built on trusting relationships and consistency of support. Since its inception in 2008, HYPAR has grown to support Young People from all walks of life and abilities, and offers Mentoring, Supported Independent Living, and Disability Support to young males seeking independence and personal wellbeing.
Next in the HYPAR Group evolution was HYPAR Residential Care. Through work with Child Safety and in youth crisis housing, Ross again noticed that many of the Young People who were in care, or hard to place due to their significant behaviour issues, were male. They were also commonly raised by single parents and lacked positive male role models in their lives. This again ignited a spark in Ross, as he delved into research surrounding attachment theory, early childhood trauma, and mental health issues related to abandonment, most notably from the works of John Bowlby, Daniel J. Siegal, and Bruce Perry.
A further step in the evolution came when the Department of Child Safety was working on a long-term housing solution for a Young Person who was being Mentored by HYPAR. Based on the level of care, the strength of relationship, and the positive outcomes the Young Person was already experiencing with HYPAR, the Department invited HYPAR to become a Child Safety licensed care organisation.
As a result, HYPAR Residential Care was established in 2015 and has grown from supporting a single Young Person to 17 at-risk young males across multiple homes within the South East Queensland region. HRC was well supported by the Department during this early period and we continue to work collaboratively for the best outcomes for each Young Person. A lot is also owed to the Young Person it started with, we grew together, helping to establish HRC’s identity as an all-male service built on relationships and a consistent worker model.
In 2017 the HYPAR Group introduced HYPAR WILD to the family, specialising in adventure therapy and outdoor education. Since those early surfing trips on the Sunshine Coast, Ross has always seen the value and benefits of Young People experiencing the outdoors and the positive outcomes it can bring. This was reinforced by many conversations with industry experts and the growing research that was being developed in the field, specifically around Young People thriving in outdoor environments and expressing themselves more openly within these settings.
Built on relationship and play, HYPAR WILD caters to males and females of all ages, including sibling groups, and recruits female outdoor educators as well as males, encouraging all Young People and adults to experience the outdoors.
The common thread of all HYPAR services and our employees is that everyone follows the shared HYPAR values of Relationships, Leadership, Reflection, Valuing People, and Encouragement. And although HYPAR and HRC are male-to-male services, we are not a male-dominated organisation, with females holding positions throughout various levels of the group – diversity and inclusivity are important to us.
With ambitions to grow the HYPAR Group throughout Queensland and expand into Northern New South Wales, we are excited for what the future will bring, as we continue to build relationships and help participants reach their potential.