While many Northlanders were snuggling up to beat the cold, a group of Whangārei youth were learning news skills in the snow at Ohakune.
Surrounded by the breath-taking snowy Mt Ruapehu, 20 students had the time of their lives learning how to ski and snowboard. The group bonded with one another, through overcoming their fears, helping their teammates get back up and try again, and persevering to learn a new skill.
These students were participating in Blue Light's Leadership camp, held in Ohakune, from July 12-16, and one of the first run in collaboration with community partner Youthtown.
Chloe Fricker, aged 14, was one of the eight students from Whangārei attending and was winner of Blue Light's Overall Excellence Award given at the camp.
Chloe, who attends Whangārei High School, said: "I took advantage of this experience because it was an amazing opportunity getting to meet new people and working as part of a team.
''I really enjoyed my stay in Ohakune. I enjoyed the skiing, the new people I got to meet, the socialising, the places we visited, the challenges we had to work together to overcome. I took advantage of this experience because it was an amazing opportunity getting to meet new people and working as part of a team.
''I would definitely recommend this to anyone with those sorts of leadership qualities in them. Thanks, Blue Light.''
Blue Light's Leadership programme includes powerful outdoor experiences, valuable NCEA credits, and access to an opportunity not normally available to many young people.
"Because it's on the slopes, on the harbour, or while in the bush, that we're also enabling self-exploration.
''Learning how to ski and snowboard gets you out of your comfort zone. It's cold, steep, everyone's a bit nervous. They have to push themselves – and trust themselves" Abbe-Mae, Blue Light youth worker and mentor who accompanied the youth, said.
Also accompanying the youth were two members of the NZ Police, who were volunteering their time in support of developing positive youth relationships and experiences.
"It was great to see the young adults from different backgrounds grow in confidence and come together to support and encourage each other to overcome their individual challenges," Constable Craig Mahy, one of the NZ Police volunteering on this leadership programme, said.
Blue Light's leadership programme, through post slope sessions, provides youth an opportunity to reflect back on the skills they have demonstrated and also allows them opportunities to practise key skills such as teamwork, communication and respect for others - all strengths and skills that lead to happy, healthy and successful lives.
"Through Blue Light's proven Leadership programme we empower young people to discover their true potential so that they can take this mahi back to their whānau, schools and communities," Blue Light CEO, Rod Bell said.
For more information on Blue Light's Leadership programmes, an opportunity to attend the 100-person future leaders camp in December or for a 2021 programme calendar visit: www.bluelight.co.nz.