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Youth Development All Stars Gather in Wellington

Organizers expect more than 800 youth development practitioners to attend Involve 2018, scheduled for August 13-15 at Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre. Involve is the biggest conference of its kind and the outcome of a two year collaboration between Ara Taiohi, the peak body for youth development, the NZ Youth Mentoring Network, The Collaborative and the Society of Youth Health Professionals of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Involve has been the national youth development conference in Aotearoa since 2002. It's a space for the whole of the youth sector to come together to connect, share, learn, grow and celebrate their diversity and strengths,” says Anya Satyanand, the Executive Officer of Ara Taiohi. “We’re super excited that our collaboration has drawn such an enthusiastic response from our sector! People are coming from all over the country to take stock of where we’re at as a sector, get topped up with awesome inspiration and new tools for their youth development kete, but most of all connect with each other.”

The conference’s theme for 2018 is “Me Hoki Whakamuri, Kia Ahu Whakamua, Kaneke: looking back to move forward”. “We chose this theme in recognition of the fact that in order to improve, evolve, and move forward, we must reflect back to what has been,” says Dr Sue Bagshaw, member of the National Involve Rōpū, and part of the Collaborative Trust for Research and Training in Youth Health and Development.

The New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network’s General Manager, Nicki McDonald, sees great potential in the powerful cross-disciplinary conversations that she believes will be created at the conference. “Mentoring is such a powerful methodology to support positive outcomes for young people, whether you’re working in an educational context or a youth justice setting. We think that this collaborative approach to bringing our sector together with our Involve partners creates space for conversations that will make a difference for young people.”

“We’re bringing together voices that reflect on the journey positive youth development has had in Aotearoa as a model of practice that puts young people’s health, wellbeing, rights and strengths at the centre. And we’re blending them with perspectives that centre on the radical promise that positive youth development can have in reshaping the world in ways that ensure that all young people flourish in the future,” says Lee-Ann O’Brien, the Chair of SYHPANZ.


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