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YMCA National Hui at Camp Kaitoke focus on empowering youths

Connect and Collaborate 2013
“Honoa me mahi tahi nga pou”

YMCA National Hui at Camp Kaitoke focus on empowering young people

What's special about the Y these days is the organisation's expansion to become a major provider of youth services in New Zealand and its focus on empowering young people to take leadership roles.

The YMCA is on a roll which is why it is expecting its National Youth Hui at Wellington’s Camp Kaitoke in August to be the best yet.

Up to 100 youth workers from inside and outside the YMCA are expected to attend the fifth National Youth Hui from August 14 – 17 at Camp Kaitoke, YMCA Greater Wellington’s outdoor education centre. They will delve into the wealth of knowledge of an international and national line-up of 29 speakers who will also run workshops on a wide range of youth issues.

Keynote speakers include two young New Zealanders aged under 30 who have been appointed as Change Agents through a World Alliance of YMCAs initiative to empower youth in their national organisations.

The New Zealand YMCA has taken this initiative a step further and appointed young leaders from each region to a Youth Leadership Advisory Team to help shape the association through the 21st Century.

Change Agents Lisa Phillips, Education Manager for the Greater Wellington YMCA, and Shaun Ellis, a Timaru YMCA youth worker, will arrive back from the YMCA Europe Festival in Prague in time to share their experiences with the hui. Lisa was awarded a New Zealander of the Year local hero medal last year for her work with youth in the community.

Enabling young people to engage more fully in the YMCA and within their communities is the mission of hui organiser Dave Green, who is the YMCA’s National Youth Services Manager.

“We are a youth organisation that has well-trained staff to work with young people. We don’t tell young people what to do. We listen and provide what young people say they need as opposed to what we think they need. That’s something the YMCA does well,” he says.

Wesley Bender, the International Director of Youth and International Initiatives, from Metro Atlanta YMCA in the US, will explain how the digital age with its increasing diversity of knowledge sources such as Google can be harnessed to increase learning.

In keeping with the youth empowerment theme, the Masterton Intermediate Kapa Haka group will help conduct the powhiri welcoming attendees to the hui.

Keynote speakers also include:
• David Kelly Hedrick, a non-profit organisation management professional from Seattle, currently living in Dunedin, on youth work as an emerging profession
• Catherine Healy from the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective on sex work realities for young people
• Kathryn Berkett, Senior Trainer at Child, Youth and Family, about understanding young people through understanding brain development.
• Chris Hipkins, Rimutaka Labour MP, on how young people can have a voice at a national level.

For further information on the hui and speakers, visit

The YMCA is one of New Zealand’s major providers of:

Youth and alternative education services, including
• Youth leadership and citizenship programmes
• NCEA and employment certificate courses

Sport, outdoor and recreation services, including
• Junior sports leagues
• Out-of-school care (OSCAR) and holiday programmes
• Residential outdoor education camps
• Gyms with programmes for people of all abilities
• Programmes such as dance therapy for children with special needs


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