A national not-for-profit youth development organisation that has been operating since 1932 has arrived in Hawke's Bay, offering selected schools sport, outdoor and leadership opportunities alongside students' regular schooling.
In the last three months Hawke's Bay born and bred Jess Gates started offering the programme including sports, outdoors and leadership activities and a Youthtown Ohakune Snow Camp in the July school holidays, she said.
As well as a strong background in physical literacy with schools Ms Yates had represented Hawke's Bay, as well as Massey University and Palmerston North, in both volleyball and football.
She said she was excited to be back in Hawke's Bay again, working with schools to help build the skills and knowledge of as many 5- to 18-year-olds as possible.
When working in the schools, Youthtown partnered with the likes of Sport Hawke's Bay to offer its programmes, as well as running inter-school tournaments.
At the same time, especially in the primary schools, teachers were involved and upskilled.
Ms Gates was especially passionate about a new "girls active" programme that had recently been added to the options offered.
"It builds confidence and motivation to be active for life, for many that wouldn't otherwise be," she said.
All the programmes highlighted the Youthtown values of mastery, independence, belonging and generosity, to give young people the confidence to make good decisions and build resilience, she added.
Youthtown operates in many other communities around the country, and in these areas had also run OSCAR after-school programmes for children aged 5 to 13.
Most of these programmes were Ministry of Social Development-certified OSCAR holiday programmes, meaning for those eligible for a Work and Income NZ subsidy, the cost could be as little as $4 a day.
Regional operations manager Andy Pilbrow said it was possible these OSCAR programmes could be run in Hawke's Bay if there was a need, offering sport and outdoor options as well as a variety of activities for children to choose from.