18 October 2013
A working group comprising of emergency service representatives, Central Otago District Council, Dunstan High School and other relevant organisations met for the first time on Monday to discuss how the Youth in Emergency Service (YES) programme will be run in Alexandra.
YES is being run collaboratively with the Ministry of Youth Development and the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management. The programme is designed to encourage young people to become connected with their community, provide skills to enable them to help others and at some point become volunteers with emergency services.
Youth Affairs Minister Nikki Kaye announced last month that the successful YES programme run in Rotorua this year will be extended to six other communities which included Alexandra.
National project manager Blair Gilbert from the Ministry of Youth Development said Alexandra was chosen to run this project because the community have a reputation for carrying out good youth and adventure development work, and it is a strong community that would deliver the YES Project well.
The meeting held on Monday provided local organisations with an overview of how the pilot programme was delivered in Rotorua, including the structure, selection process and feedback from participants. The meeting also involved a discussion on how the programme could be tailored to meet local objectives.
Another meeting has been scheduled for a couple of weeks to give emergency services a chance to discuss the programme and the content they would like to deliver within their own organisations before sharing it with the rest of the working group.
“Since the Minister’s announcement last month we have received numerous phone calls from people, emergency services and community groups wanting to be involved in the programme, which is excellent”, said Emergency Management Officer Hamish Keith.
“The YES programme is a great initiative that will help raise awareness and understanding of what the emergency services do to keep the community safe”.
Dunstan High School’s Head of Outdoor Education Eric Shusser is thrilled that Alexandra has been chosen to take part in the project. “There are a number of students in the district who will benefit from this type of programme”, he said. “I’m looking forward to working with emergency services and other volunteer groups on the project as they are all really enthusiastic”.
It is envisioned that the programme will run early next year, which will allow the local emergency services adequate time to prepare for and plan how it will be delivered in Alexandra. More information about the programme and selection process will be delivered once the working group is formally established and a project co-ordinator is appointed.
More information about the YES project along with a DVD of the Rotorua pilot project can be found on the Ministry of Youth Development website.