World Champion wakeboarder Courtney Angus is no stranger to achieving her dreams. With a trio of world titles already under her belt, the 23-year-old was aiming for a fourth at Plastic Playgrounds when she broke her leg during training and required surgery. Facing ten weeks of recovery, the irrepressible competitor instead turned her laser focus onto the creation of More To The Weekend, a not-for-profit lifestyle movement with a focus on fun and healthy weekend activities for young people.
There’s no denying that the Gold Coast enjoys a reputation for being party central. And with the highest reported use of ecstasy per capita, Australia can stand out on the world stage for all the wrong reasons.
“Everyone revolves their weekend around drinking and partying,” says Courtney.
“It’s so common you turn on the news every single night and there’s always something about drugs and alcohol… There’s not much else on offer.”
Seeking to rectify that, Courtney landed on the idea of a series of healthy, fun activities for young people where they could meet one another in a social setting other than a club. The kick-off event, a drug-and-alcohol-free Beach Volleyball Party, was a huge success.
“I’m so stoked!” exclaimed Courtney. “I had 100 people at my first event.”
She plans to move into schoolies next, planning fun daily activities for school leavers.
“I want to do bubble soccer – you know what that is? You get in sumo suits and play soccer and when you go down you just roll and roll, it’s so funny,” she laughs.
“Also there’s the Aquasplash park across from Pacific Fair, we could do surfing lessons… I really want to get other athletes involved. We have so many amazing athletes here on the Gold Coast!”
Her enthusiasm is infectious. With partnership proposals in to councils and small businesses and swathes of positive feedback rolling in, this unique enterprise looks likely to take off. Courtney seems to have hit just the right note with young people by taking a pro-active approach to healthy living as opposed to the fear based, reactive campaigns seen all too often.
She cites the Rat Park project – a ground-breaking (though un-replicated) study in which two lots of rats were offered the choice between regular water and water laced with morphine – as an informing factor in her concept. The bored and stressed-out caged rats drank significantly more of the morphine-laced water than the ones who were allowed to roam freely in “Rat Park”, with ample food, activities and playmates.
“Patients in hospital on long term sedation, if they go home to loving families, they don’t continue with the drug use,” she opines.
“It’s all about environment and culture.”
The amount of coverage and momentum Courtney has managed to gain in the five weeks from concept to event is slightly less astonishing when viewed in the context of her family heritage. Her mother fought through cancer and a slew of medical problems from age 19 to raise a family and run a successful business.
“My mum battled with health problems her whole life,” says Courtney.
“They told her she was never going to have kids… She used to say these kids go and risk their health, just for a night out.”
Sadly Courtney’s mother lost her battle earlier this year. But her memory and legacy have served as inspiration which drives Courtney forward in her goals.
“I can’t do much for the next five weeks while I’m easing back into it. But with More To The Weekend I’ve managed to do something positive with my time.”
“I want to align with different government bodies and have as much of an influence on the community as I possibly can… I honestly think the Gold Coast needs something like this for young people.”
And it would appear that the young people agree.
Main Image: Lamp Photography