“Staff there were really helpful and encouraged me to try my hardest to achieve my goals I had set out for myself in life and gave me a lot of insight on what to expect if I wanted to join the army,” comments Te Awamutu teenager Sebastian Crain, 16, as he reflects on his recent Peer’s Choice Award win at Blue Light’s Life Skills programme held recently at Whenuapai Airforce base on 2-6 May.
Sebastian, was voted by his fellow peers, Defence Force and Blue Light staff to win the Peer’s Choice Award and Blue Light Life Skills Coordinator Abbe-Mae Henry comments: “Sebastian was awarded the Peer’s Choice Award through his efforts to foster a team environment, encouragement and respectful communication with fellow team members”.
Sebastian was referred by Marg Apiti, Youth Coach, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and she says of his experience: “I am so grateful that Blue Light provides the opportunity for our rangatahi to experience something so practical, fun, and challenging at this week-long camp”.
“The skills and activities are invaluable learning and Sebastian has returned with enthusiasm and motivation to finish his course to the best of his ability. We are also completing his application to the Army as the camp confirmed to him that this is the pathway that he wants to take once his course is finished.”
Sebastian was also supported by Waikato police Senior Sergeant Scott Miller from Te Awamutu Blue Light and he notes “Sebastian has realised that he is a natural leader which has opened up new paths where he is preparing his army application with his youth coach now. Every young person who we have had helped attend a Bluelight Camp has loved it and have come home beaming. Great opportunities can turn on small hinges”.
As well as learning life skills such as cooking, ironing, and changing a tire, Sebastian also experienced leadership, teamwork, and undertook physical activities, (including parade ground drills and rising early for 6am room inspections).
He enjoyed the experiential learning elements of the camp, and enjoyed “the activities we did like tree climbing and rock climbing as they were both really fun and challenging experiences for me. I had heaps of fun trying them out”.
“The other thing that was cool about the camp was all the new faces I met at camp even though I was the only person from Hamilton doing this camp I felt welcome by teammates and staff,” Sebastian comments.
This highly successful programme has been run by New Zealand Blue Light in partnership with NZ Defence Force for the past 12 years and has adventure-based experiential learning as a key part of the programme.
The programme provides 14-17-year olds’ critical life skills such as self-development, self-control, and teamwork that will enable young people to be successful at home, school, communities, and employment.
Up to 12 courses are held each year in Auckland, Central North Island and Burnham locations.
For more information about the Blue Light Life Skills camps visit www.bluelight.co.nz.