Each school holidays, our Youth Team put on a program of activities for the young people aged 11-17 years from Cranebrook and Kingswood Park. The Youth Holiday Program is a social and recreational based program run across 7 days during the school holidays, with a diverse range of free activities offered for local young people.
The school holiday program has been developed to not only reduce the social isolation that some of our local young people experience, and it’s not only to provide an opportunity for young people to try something new. We want our young people to have a meaningful sense of connectedness, to participate in an activity that has value for them, and to share with us and the other young people a positive common experience.
We use the experiences and activities as a way to encourage appropriate behaviour – all the young people agree to a code of behaviour – as well as helping them achieve competence in their social skills with peers and adults, and develop a sense of responsibility for their own actions, and the consequences that result.
Now, this is no easy feat – there are many challenges. There are often not enough spaces to accommodate the young people that would like to attend. Sometimes young people book in, but don’t show up. And sometimes the young people just won’t take part in the planned activities. We have to deal with wet weather, safety, levels of staffing, limited funds, and young people not adhering to their code of behaviour.
But it works. Young people come away with a sense of being a part of something. They all learn, they all grow, and come away with skills and abilities that maybe they don’t even recognise – but we can all see they are there.
Being January, we had a lot of new kids join the program that were just starting high school, and were nervous about not knowing anybody. So it was lovely to be able to introduce them to our regulars who already attend the same school, so that there would be a familiar face on their first day.
A very big shout out – I’d like to thank Greater Community Transport for providing one of their buses and a volunteer driver for two days during the holidays. Quite often we have more young people wanting to attend some of our more popular outings than we can transport ourselves. This enabled us to take more young people to the beach these holidays. THANK YOU!
We had 9 new young people join this school holidays program, which was fantastic to see. There were 25 individual young people, attending multiple days, making 82 opportunities to give our young people a sense of belonging, responsibility and fun.
The NCNS Youth Team keep upping the ante each School Holiday Program – I can’t wait to see what they have planned for next holidays, and I’m sure the young people can’t, either.