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Spearhead Leaders hit the ground running in Upper Hutt

Spearhead Leaders hit the ground running in Upper Hutt

With an ambitious vision, ‘To empower youth voice and leadership in Upper Hutt’ the newly appointed Spearhead Leaders are off to a strong start.

UPPER HUTT, Wellington NZ, 19 APRIL 2018— Spearhead Leaders is a collaborative initiative between Upper Hutt City Council and Upper Hutt Community Youth Trust. It aims to develop the leadership skills, voice, and potential of Upper Hutt’s young people. The 2018 programme builds on the success of the 2017 pilot and has been co-designed by young people.

The 16-strong group, aged between 13 and 17, were selected through an application and interview process. They began their leadership journey, meeting for the first time as they boarded a bus bound for a three-day leadership and adventure camp in Raurimu.

“The Spearhead Leaders come from diverse backgrounds; some attend traditional educational institutions while others are home schooled or attending tertiary study. Some work, some play sport while others have a passion for the arts. What they all have in common is a passion for empowering youth voice and leadership in Upper Hutt” says Council’s Community Development Advisor, Denise Johnson. “The camp is a vital element of the programme, allowing the group to get to know each other, understand what leadership is, and discover how they can work together to achieve their vision.”

The group has hit the ground running during their weekly sessions. The first session focussed on discovering a personal leadership style. For the second session, representatives from Council were invited to speak about Upper Hutt’s Long Term Plan consultation. The Spearhead Leaders were able to provide immediate feedback on proposed projects and activities as well as write formal submissions and encourage other young people to get involved too.

“To see a group of young people who knew nothing about what the Long Term Plan is, go to finding out about it, writing and actually making a submission on issues that are meaningful to them— all in a two hour session is amazing,” says Upper Hutt Community Youth Trust’s Director of Youth Services, Paul Thompson. “The camaraderie and discussions about what could be the future for our city, from a group of young people who a month ago had never met each other is inspirational, and something that we could all learn from.”

The Spearhead Leaders are supported by three youth workers—a programme mentor and two youth mentors (who were themselves Spearhead Leaders in 2017). The programme runs from March until December with regular sessions focusing on leadership and voice. The young leaders will have the opportunity to apply everything that they learn by designing and running a community project later in the year. The Spearhead Leaders will also use their collective voice as guest speakers at the annual Young Achievers Awards in June.

Council’s continued support of this successful project is a commitment to youth development and community wellbeing as key elements contributing to Upper Hutt’s city vision. As well as helping to facilitate the Spearhead Leaders programme, Upper Hutt City Council is contributing funding and resources alongside the Ministry of Youth Development and Upper Hutt Community Youth Trust.


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