Youth In Emergency Services started as a programme at Lake Okareka but now encapsulates the whole of Rotorua and has been taken up by other districts. The five-week course is run by the Ministry of Youth Development and Rotorua emergency services. Last night's awards, at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre, resulted in more than $5000 being given to community groups.
As well as the group awards there were also five Rotorua Lakes Community Awards presented. There were given to Cheryl Campbell, Phil Muldoon, Tony Baker, Diana Adlam and Terry Beckett.
The Youth in Emergency Services group will now go on to the Trustpower National Community Awards, being held in Dunedin in March.
Trustpower community relations representative Jess Somerville said what started as a great idea, within the Youth in Emergency Services working group, had grown into a very successful pilot programme being rolled out in other communities. "This programme is clever on so many levels," she said. "It's giving youth an insight into the importance of our emergency services, the value of volunteering for the greater good of the community and it is helping to bridge many of these youth into the work force too. "Rotorua residents can be proud in knowing that this programme started in Rotorua thanks to some very driven volunteers and this is a real testament to the value people put on community here."
The 15 youth attending the course are exposed to five different emergency services including fire brigades, ambulance and search and rescue. The programme culminates in a combined weekend camp where the young people respond to a series of emergency scenarios. They are then supported to become volunteers in a service of their choice.
Blair Gilbert, who helped design the project, said he was lost for words at the win. "It's unbelievable," he said. "This is about all the emergency services that make it what it is. It's a combined effort. We've worked with job seekers this year and got them active in their communities. The other benefits are that the emergency services are working together." Mr Gilbert finished his role with the Ministry of Youth Development yesterday and said it was a high note to go out on.
Mr Muldoon, who is the chief fire officer with Lake Okareka Rural Fire, said the idea for YES came many years ago when the pair were on a conference. It was now being modelled across the country, with a project currently under way in Murupara with Ngati Manawa.
Heritage and Environment: Progress Ngongotaha-Kokiri Ngongotaha Inc, runner-up Rotoehu Ecological Trust
Health and Well Being: Linton Park Community Trust, runner-up Aroha Mai, Cancer Support Services, commended New Zealand Brain Injury Support Network and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, Rotorua Support Group
Sport and Leisure: Rotorua Community Menz Shed, runner-up Crankworx Rotorua
Education and Child/Youth Development: Te Waiariki Purea Trust, runner-up Ko Te Tuara Totara o Fordlands, commended English Language Partners Rotorua.
Supreme Winner: Youth in Emergency Services
Youth Spirit Award: Pearlina Taliauli, John Paul College, runner-up Jessica Gordon, Rotorua Lakes High School, finalists Ashleigh Whitmore, Western Heights High School, Victoria Thompson, Rotorua Girls High School, Cody Broad, Rotorua Boys' High School.
Rotorua Lakes Community Award: Cheryl Campbell, Phil Muldoon, Tony Baker, Diana Adlam, Terry Beckett.
- Rotorua Daily Post