What started as a social programme where young people put out events and activities for their peers in 2002, has come a long way since then. In its 20th year Raise Up is now a youth development programme focused on the development and growth of young people supported by crews of rangatahi.
But as they say, the sky is the limit! This year the Raise Up team gears up for the national rollout of Raise Up across Aotearoa.
The primary focus of Raise Up is to develop young leaders with a cross-section of skills suitable for work and university, as well as improve the physical and mental wellbeing of rangatahi across the country and provide opportunities and experiences not readily available to all young people in Aotearoa.
We are so excited that significant funding from Sport New Zealand ihi Aotearoa has enabled the national rollout of Raise Up, meaning that young people across the motu will build the resilience and life skills needed to navigate the challenges of their lives today. There has never been a greater need for mental health support in New Zealand - COVID has only amplified existing challenges within the lives of today's teenagers.
This national rollout is supported by Sport New Zealand, YMCA North Inc and National YMCA associations led by Raise Up’s Group Manager of Youth Development Adam Brown-Rigg. Adam has dedicated massive hours of mahi, supported by Youth Development Supervisor Chelsey Harnell.
The first rollout milestone will be setting up seven new Raise Up crews throughout New Zealand’s YMCA associations. With Southland, Christchurch, Ōtara and Manurewa already established, crews will be launched in Masterton, Central Wellington, Palmerston North, Gisborne, Timaru, and Ashburton during term two.
Raise Up has been very fortunate to have collaborated with research company Point for several years, evaluating the needs of both the young people within the programme and the broader communities we run programmes in. Research insights allow us to focus the efforts in areas where it’s actually needed in order to make a positive difference in the lives of young people. This generation of rangatahi want to have tangible outcomes for their volunteer community mahi. They want to develop transferable skills to support work and university pathways, and they want to develop mindfulness and resilience skills and support their family and friends.
Walking the Talk
To meet these requirements, Raise Up has developed the Youth Endorsement Certification process. Young people work to obtain bronze, silver and gold certifications by taking part in community volunteer hours, support events, workshops, community outreach and other programme activations.
In addition to these outcomes, the national rollout will also have learning modules incorporated into the certification process. Primary modules include goal setting, event management, marketing, and promotion. Crew members will be able to choose their own secondary modules from what they're interested in, such as public speaking, sound and AV tech, to name a few.
Each local Raise Up crew, made up of rangatahi aged 13 - 18, sets annual objectives, including delivering three events, two workshops, and three community outreaches for their local communities and peers.
The groups meet weekly to plan activities within a crew meeting, and each crew will run a minimum of one weekly activity for the wider youth community, including social sports activations, peer-to-peer study groups, gym sessions, board game hangouts and more.
Young people within the crew who complete endorsement tasks will have a tangible certificate for their CVs recognised by employers and universities. Although Raise Up supports young people within the particular region to plan and deliver activities best suited to their community, the programme itself will have a consistent set of objectives all Raise Up crew members from all over the country will be working to achieve.
Along with the pre-mentioned objectives, each crew member will have the opportunity to attend a subsidised leadership camp graduation dinner and represent their crew as prefects or advocates. All regional crew members will have a chance to be involved in the Raise Up podcast ###a href="https://www.raiseup.co.nz/youth-voice/real-talk/">"Real Talk" with Raise Up, attend peer-led educational tutoring programmes and collaborative workshops with external providers, including Rainbow Youth, Family Planning, NetSafe, Shine and others.
The future is here
Raise Up will have 19 active crews across New Zealand by Term Three 2022. The Raise Up programme will engage with an estimated 57,000 young people annually across Aotearoa, delivering 57 events, three significant events, 57 community outreach activations, 38 workshops, three camps, and three graduation events.
Within these crews, they will all be working to achieve their endorsement certificates.