Healthy Relationships for Our Youth

As part of the local ’Blue Light Empowering Youth’ initiative, Birthright Hawke’s Bay Child & Family Care teamed up with the Community Police Force in January to offer eighteen teenage girls the opportunity to understand how to build healthy relationships by developing their social skills, emotional strengths and understanding of the benefits of positive social behaviours.

The activities were both educational and recreational. Day one saw the girls visit Boundary Stream Reserve and Lake Opouahi, where the Department of Conservation (DOC) is restoring the native habitat for birds and plants including our endangered kiwi. The girls and social workers were treated to a one hour walk through the bush where the DOC Ranger introduced them to different plants, trees, birds and predator traps. The girls learnt about conservation, their natural environment and the need to protect our endangered bird species. Day one also saw the girls introduce themselves to each other and, in small groups, reflect on the day’s activity and the programme goals.

Day two was based at Tamatea Intermediate School, where the girls spent the day in the Technology Block learning about nutrition, baking and cooking. They cooked lunch for themselves - and for all the helpers! They also spent time taking part in Blue Light BLAST activities which involved team building and problem-solving. Lots of fun was had by all while learning social skills such as working together, cooperation and communication. Everyone enjoyed baked shortbread for morning tea and macaroni cheese for lunch – yum!

Day three saw every one cycle to Bayview and back (20km) via the picturesque coastal cycle/walkway.  They then returned to Ocean Spa where they had lunch and a long soak to relax their tired muscles. The girls learnt about the benefits of healthy living, the great outdoors and the health benefits of exercise. They also learnt about encouraging and supporting each other and respecting each other’s differences.

Day four was another educational day at Arataki Honey in Havelock North. The girls made candles from bees wax and had a guided tour of the honey centre. During the afternoon, they visited Haumoana Small Animal Zoo and Crasborn’s Fruit Packing House, where they enjoyed lots of healthy fruit to eat and learning how to feel good about themselves while supporting others in a positive way.

The ultimate excursion and final day was on Friday, with an awesome Gannet Safari tractor trip to Cape Kidnappers to visit the world’s largest mainland Gannet Colony. This was such a fun day and an ideal opportunity to use all the social skills learnt over the previous four days to strengthen the ’sisterhood’.

The week was funded by the Ministry of Social Development as part of the SWiS Preventative Programme and supported by the Blue Light Empowering Youth team.

Trevor Adsett, Chief Executive of Birthright Hawke’s Bay Child & Family Care, says, “It’s a fantastic programme, with great outcomes, and we really appreciate the support from the Ministry of Social Development, the Police and our social workers to be able to make such a difference in young people’s lives.”

If you would like to help Birthright Hawke's Bay provide services and support to families in need please donate now - all donors will receive a tax receipt.