About us

Our Mission

Our mission is to enhance the lives of young people by re-engaging them in education and promoting personal growth through a combination of outdoor challenge, family, community and future focused activities.

Our Values

Our values reflect the Australian Government’s National Strategy for Young Australians to ‘…grow up safe, healthy, happy and resilient and to have the opportunities and skills they need to learn, work, engage in community life and influence decisions that affect them.’

Safe means assessing the risks and making choices to look after the physical and emotional wellbeing of everyone in the Operation Newstart team.

Healthy means being aware of our lifestyle choices, making decisions to be physically active, eat well and nourish our minds.

Happy means cultivating an attitude of gratitude, appreciating others, the environment and ourselves.

Resilient means having a go and persisting even when challenges are not easily overcome.

Program Facilitators

Nick Sack is the program manager of Operation Newstart Geelong and has been with the Nick Profile Picprogram since November 2015. Prior to commencing with ONG, Nick has spent the past 10 years teaching in Australian and United Kingdom schools, having lived in London for two years during that time. Nick has a background in Physical Education, Outdoor and Environmental Education, Science and Maths.

Nick enjoys being in the outdoors and will try and get active at every opportunity he gets. He is also a lover of all things food related and has been known to take down a number of big meals and food challenges in his day.

Nick is dedicated to helping young people achieve their best, enabling them to realise their dreams and aspirations for the future. Nick lives with his better half Renee, son Billy and dog Dougie in Belmont.

Mark Philpott has been employed as the Youth Facilitator for Operation Newstart Geelong since the beginning of 2015.  Mark has a diverse range of experience working alongside young people in school settings as a chaplain, school counselor and as a teacher.  Mark enjoys sharing the journey with young people, particularly during the pivotal years between 14 and 16 as they wrestle with their sense of identity and purpose.

Operation Newstart facilitates a holistic, experiential learning program that enables Mark to draw upon his breadth of skills and experiences from counselling to teaching.  The varied nature of the program also presents many opportunities for Mark to share his love of outdoor adventure, creativity and social responsibility with the participants.  As well as working with participants Mark also has a strong sense of responsibility to nurture future Youth workers who undertake student placements with Operation Newstart each term.

Mark lives with his wonderfully supportive wife Talitha, their son Jethro and dog Marley.  Mark enjoys surfing, making music with friends, good coffee and taking in the beaches of the Surf coast region.

Community Partners

Operation Newstart Geelong wouldn’t be able to realise its potential without our very generous supporters and our valued partnerships with many individuals, businesses and organisations.

Our program is built on the generosity of individuals and businesses who share their finances, time, facilities and expertise with our young people.

By engaging with Operation Newstart, partners communicate a powerful message that Geelong’s local community values and believes in the capacity of young people to make positive contributions that shape our culture.

If you or your organisation feel inspired to make an impact by partnering with Operation Newstart Geelong please contact Nick or Mark for more details.


Operation Newstart was created in 1997 as a joint initiative between the Department of Education and Victoria Police. The intensive program was developed as a more innovative way to empower young people to help themselves, unlocking them from limiting situations and allowing them to move on to the next positive phase of their secondary school or post-secondary school education.

Operation Newstart Geelong began in 2011 with strong local support. Built on the Operation Newstart model the Geelong program has evolved to address the specific needs of young people in the Geelong community. There have now been 23 groups graduate as part of the Geelong program with 205 young people participating from 11 local government schools.