Free party to reward teens who give back

By Alisa Yong alisa.yong@age.co.nz -
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Youth development co-ordinator Laura Bradley, Carterton youth group leader Rebecca Vergunst and Featherston youth group co-ordinator Alan Maxwell. PHOTO/ALISA YONG
Youth development co-ordinator Laura Bradley, Carterton youth group leader Rebecca Vergunst and Featherston youth group co-ordinator Alan Maxwell. PHOTO/ALISA YONG

Youth Week will be winding up with a bang this year, with a free party for teens taking part in the week's volunteer activities.

Youths between 12 and 18 who complete at least two hours' volunteer work will receive a free ticket to the party at Masterbowl on June 11, where free bowling, bumper cars, food and drink, and live music will be on offer. Free transportation between Featherston and Carterton will be provided.

Teens can choose to complete their volunteer hours at several hosted activities, such as the clean-up at Queen Elizabeth Park, helping out with kids' rugby training in Carterton or helping in Featherston's community garden.

Those not able to participate in the hosted activities can complete their own volunteering, and provide contact details for the organisation where the work is completed.

Youth development co-ordinator Laura Bradley said the theme of the week was "giving back is giving forward.

We want more connection between youth and their community, so they actually feel like they are a part of it, and for them to be able to take responsibility for making the community a better place.

"The whole idea of 'giving back is giving forward' is for them to learn, if you want to make things better and feel involved and not be bored, you need to step up and take ownership."

R2R youth group facilitator Rebecca Vergunst said the week aimed to show young people "you don't have to commit hours and hours of your time to do things that really matter".

"I guess the idea is trying to encourage them to do more volunteering with some more incentives." Featherston youth co-ordinator Alan Maxwell said it was an opportunity for the community to see teens as people.

"Really a big part of it is, not just getting the youth to realise they are part of the community, but getting the community to realise youth are part of the community as well."

"We need to stop seeing the demographic and start seeing the people."

Wairarapa's Youth Week runs from today until Saturday, June 11.

For those unable to complete the volunteer work, tickets to the party are available for $20.

For more information email laura@connectingcommunities.org.nz or visit www.youth reserve.co.nz/ youth-week

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