About us

Since our incorporation in 2013, Running Wild has successfully facilitated various place-based programs to meet identified community need. We have continued to grow and make significant impacts in addressing high unemployment rates and providing professional support services to people in need.

Running Wild has demonstrated success in developing community-based programs that meet multiple needs, such as our Work Skills Traineeships, and Containers for Change. We employ fifteen people from the islands, and have a management committee of seven.

Our Founder/Manager, Julie “Chook” Larson has more than 20 years’ experience working with people with complex behaviours and all program staff are trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) to effectively respond to challenging behaviours and times of high stress/crisis in a way that maintains engagement in activities.

A brief timeline of our history


Chook gathers like-minded people keen to transform perceptions of young people on the islands.

Incorporation of association and formation of management committee.



First school holiday program.

First Work for the Dole program.



First Work Skills Traineeships under Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program.

Work Skills Traineeships program wins Best Community Training Initiative of the Year at the Qld Training Awards.



Running Wild appointed as CoEx parter for Containers for Change, our first social enterprise.
Running Wild receives Australia Day Award RCC Community Organisation Award.

Running Wild takes over the Lamb Island Rec Club Bistro to found The Wild Goat, a social enterprise run by Hospitality trainees.
First formalised Creative Arts program.



Inaugural performance of “The Curlew Wars” a production written by young people from the islands, for islanders.
Running Wild takes over the restaurant at the Bay Islands Golf Club on Macleay, expanding The Wild Goat social enterprise run by Hospitality trainees. First round of Conservation Cadets commences in the 2nd half of the year.

The 2nd round of Conservation Cadets commences. Running Wild launches “Running Wild Outdoors” at the 2022 Tide Festival. Our Curlew Chaos characters wandered through crowds at the Karragarra Sea Market.


Our programs

Work Skills Traineeships

Running since 2017, this program won Best Community Training Initiative of the Year at the Queensland Training Awards 2018. We don’t have any rounds open currently, but keep an eye on our website or Facebook for news of upcoming application dates.

Working with young people

More than 250 young people have taken part in school holiday or creative arts programs, or youth mentoring. This increases positive participation in the community, changing negative profiles, and allows us to link individuals and families to specialist supports.

Containers for Change

We are the CoEx local provider for the 10c container exchange, and run the Container Refund Points on Macleay and Russell as a social enterprise, creating jobs and volunteer work on the islands, whilst facilitating nearly $200,000 in a circular economy.

Conservation Cadetships

We are establishing a new social enterprise offering inclusive ecotourism experiences. People with disabilities from across the islands were recruited for a paid, 20-week cadetship to design and pilot these experiences, whilst also working on essential conservation projects.

Creative Arts Program

Our creative arts program hit a new high in 2021, with a group of young people writing and producing a play about their island experiences. Mentored by our Youth Workers, and some of Queensland’s top performing arts talent, the Curlew Wars premiered in February.