KidsCan Youth Council

KidsCan is a New Zealand charity on a mission to help kiwi children who are living in poverty and going without essentials like food, warm clothing and shoes. KidsCan believes that “Education is a pathway out of poverty [but] children can’t learn if they are cold and hungry.”

One of KidsCan’s projects is the KidsCan Youth Council. It is a year-long scholarship programme which supports young people towards success, leadership and community

The Youth Council is made up of ten students (aged 16-18) from all around Aotearoa New Zealand, who have been under-privileged or come from resilient backgrounds or who have benefitted from KidsCan programmes themselves. They are young people who have a desire to help others and want the opportunity to have a leadership role in their communities.

KidsCan partnered with us to create a 3-day outdoor adventure programme which focused on supporting the Youth Council students in gaining confidence and leadership skills, plus developing individual goals for themselves.

Our instructors, Nat and Joel, took the group kayaking and hiking around Waitākere Ranges Regional Park.

They also led the group in some leadership activities which focused on understanding different values and different comfort levels within a group. For example, they were asked questions like “How comfortable do you feel in deep water?” or “How much do you value time alone by yourself?” or “How connected do you feel to your culture?”

Seeing everyone’s different answers helped the students to understand how we all have different values and experiences, which, in turn, helps develop self-awareness as well as empathy and understanding for others.

After the programme, the students gave us some feedback:

“The group activities have helped me be able to talk and communicate with people I don’t know.”

“I’ve learned to be ambitious [with my goals]. It could pay off.”

“Our hike was so hard. It felt good to complete it, though.”

Ray, the KidsCan co-ordinator, gave this feedback:

“Kayaking was a youth fav. There was a good balance of education, skill, ease, exploration and playfulness. The hike was incredible and a great challenge for the youth. [The instructors] both had a very relaxed nature which made it easy for youth to feel comfortable and safe around. Good safety and risk management. I look forward to working with Adventure Specialties Trust again!”

This article is taken from our December 2023 Christmas newsletter.

Click here to read the rest of the newsletter.

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