For Immediate Release
27 August 2007
YMCA gives Government holiday programme the big thumbs up
The Government’s announcement yesterday that it would give disadvantaged children access to free holiday programmes endorses a long held objective of the YMCA, says National Chief Executive Officer Ric Odom.
The YMCA is the largest national provider of holiday camps with camping having been a YMCA programme for most of its 150 year history in New Zealand.
He said he now looked forward to working with the Government to determine if YMCA programmes could be part of the new Break-Away Package for School Holidays initiative in the future.
“We’ve experienced countless situations where holiday camps have prompted young people to change their life’s direction for the better. They gain self esteem, new skills, new friends and a new approach to life. Some realise they have true leadership potential; a notion that would never otherwise occurred to them”
YMCA has always aimed to keep costs as low as possible so that families from all backgrounds could give their children the holiday camp experience, Mr Odom said.
“However, if we can offer some camps for free, this opens up the opportunities to a lot more disadvantaged and at-risk children.”
In New Zealand summer camps are a key community project for YMCA and are about getting kids outside, involved in activities and active.
YMCA operates eight camps across New Zealand – from Auckland to Bluff –and most run summer camp programmes. These are run by a mix of dedicated volunteers and professional instructors. The camps offer a mix of challenging and confidence-building activities and recreation such as high ropes, horse rides, tramping, ecology studies, archery, water sports and indoor activities such as craft.
YMCA also operates its camps throughout the year for school outdoor education and adventure programmes, corporate team building and conferences and special events.