Raise Up celebrated another successful year of creating opportunities for youth and using their young and vibrant energy towards community good, at its annual graduation ceremony in Decemeber.

The programme, now in its 14th year, saw around 150 crew members from across Auckland and Hamilton attend the event, held at Lagoon Stadium managed by YMCA.

Of the 150 that attended, around 30 graduated from the programme, but the majority will be back on board for 2016.

Time at the graduation was spent commending the achievements of the 11 different crews and looking back over the fun had, as well as the highlights for some of the graduates leaving. The teams took part in a quiz, where one crew had the chance to take home the Graduation Day Trophy. Following the ceremony, the group headed across the road to Lagoon Pool and Leisure Centre for an afternoon pool party.

Kev Carter, YMCA Community Development Manager, says, “This year’s Raise Up graduation was another fantastic day, celebrating a successful year that was. We celebrated the introduction of four new Raise Up crews, and some already fantastic results. With four new locations in South Auckland alone we we were able to deliver 16 new youth events and workshops in 2015, welcoming around 6,000 new youth visits in those areas.”

“Across the board the team delivered 39 events, bringing in more than 15,000 visits to YMCA centres and events. The sheer volume and impact of our young people doing such fantastic things for the community makes me incredibly proud.”

Events throughout 2015 included quiz nights, pool parties, fashion shows, live music events, such as Volume and our annual Artistry event. In total, an estimate 18,000 hours of voluntary service was given back to the community by our young people across the network.

Kev says each year he looks for more inspiration and more ambition, in 2016, he’s planning to recruit another 100 crew members across the network.

“We’re also looking to implement our #AKLPLAY social sport project across seven of our Raise Up locations, which will provide 4,000 young people with the opportunity to participate in social sport throughout the year.”

“Raise Up gets bigger and better every year and there are plenty of exciting things to come – I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us in 2016,” says Kev.