Ashleigh’s thoughts on the youth of Te Puke:
Where we are now:
I believe that in order to create a strong community of youth in Te Puke, we need to start by keeping youth in Te Puke.
As a young person in the Kiwifruit Capital of the world, I have found myself commuting to different places in the bay in search of fun things to do. The Mount is one of my favorites and is a popular place for all of us; the summit walk, mount beach, pilot bay and Bayfair are all places that we all enjoy especially during the summer holidays when we aren’t at school. Papamoa Beach, Palm Beach Plaza, Maketu Beach. Youth tends to flock to these hotspots because there is an attraction at each (the common denominator being beaches and shopping malls). When faced with the choice of going to the mount where there are numerous things to do, and staying in Te Puke, most people would choose to go to the mount. There are beaches, ‘cool’ surfy shops, shopping malls, Mount Maunganui walks and many other things to do once you’re there. In town, the most interesting place for youth to go is Jubilee park; a field with a playground that has a supermarket nearby… (not to forget the upcoming addition of the skatepark).
I have heard adults in the past complaining about youth. They see us around in town, on the streets or at the parks and immediately assume we are up to mischief. Complaints about teenagers hanging around town and getting up to no good, saying we need to be working or doing something with ourselves. Yet where are the opportunities to work for youth in Te Puke, where are the opportunities to do things and get involved? Complaining about the young people in our town isn’t doing anything. In fact, it’s passing up the opportunity to grow the people that will be running our town in the future. We need to realise the importance of our young people and give them as much help and support as possible. The more tautoko and aroha we give now, the brighter our future in Te Puke is for all of us.
We need to create an attraction for youth in Te Puke. I think that is the first step towards having a strong community of youth and for youth. We can’t create this if most of the young people in our area are choosing to move to other places.
This is where the Te Puke Youth Hub comes in.
Youth Trust’s Core Values:
For me, one of the most important things in life is acceptance. The Youth Trust and Youth Hub should be a place for everyone; of all different backgrounds, with different personalities and interests. It should never be exclusive. I think that as a trust, our primary purpose should be to support and grow the youth of Te Puke in any and every way possible. Anything we do should be done with this purpose in mind. Love and compassion is something that we should be able to feel as part of the Youth Trust, and in the Youth Hub. Treating everyone with kindness and compassion will make the trust a wonderful thing to be part of, motivating others to join and help.
Objectives of youth trust, some of the outcomes:
Objective: To create an attraction for youth in Te Puke
Creating a place, an event or a culture in our town for youth will encourage us to stay in our hometown to have fun, rather than having to travel elsewhere. The more youth we have staying in Te Puke, the more youth we have in our community to support and grow. The youth are the people that will play the biggest role in the youth trust and the youth hub, therefore the more youth we have locally, the more input and feedback we get and the more our trust will grow.
Outcome: A strong, loving, diverse culture in Te Puke around youth with a community that supports this in any and every way possible.
Objective: To go above and beyond in helping youth that needs it in Te Puke.
This kind of endless support with no limits is a necessity in growing, helping, teaching and monitoring youth. As a teen there have been multiple times that I have found myself in need of someone older, even wiser to talk to. I have in the past made use of the school counselor but I think it would be really beneficial to have youth on youth talk time. Being able to let it out and talk to someone that is around the same age as you and is going through or has gone through what you are is very valuable and I think can help us teens a lot. Even having an anonymous service where you can text or call someone if you need to; a hotline. This sort of support would be great for times when we aren’t able to get to the hub to talk to someone, or if it’s a time where we really need to talk to someone but the hub is closed and everyone has gone home. Having something local, with local people that you can really talk to properly instead of sitting in an office with a counselor who is paid to see what is ‘wrong with you’ makes a world of a difference.
There is a stigma about going to see counselors with youth; that there’s something wrong with you if you go to one. I don’t think needing to talk to someone is something you should be ashamed of. Youth needs to know that there is someone to listen, and that it is okay to go and talk to someone. Having someone that is a bit younger to talk to could encourage more teens to speak up rather than have to deal with their issues on their own. I understand that having these services is a lot of work but I really believe that this is what will make our trust successful in really helping youth. Being available when youth needs it most is imperative.
Outcome: I think about something like this hotline or youth on youth ‘talk it out’ service existing and wish we had something like this long ago to help people that really needed it. With something like this, I think the number of teen suicides, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and body dismorphia disorders would reduce because the teens that deal with these problems have someone to confide in, someone that will help them so that they are dealing with them on their own but with a loving family that genuinely cares about them.
Outcome: To have a fun, homely place in Te Puke for Youth to learn, laugh, cry and create in.
In order to achieve all that we would like to, I think we need a home base for youth to go when they need support, a place to host events, workshops and more. The youth hub could be the start of creating an attraction in Te Puke for youth. Having a space to hold different workshops (cooking, performing arts, eco-friendly, life skills, guest speakers, seasonal activities, skills, driving) out of school in things that youth genuinely want to learn that will benefit them in life, not necessarily in their studies and school work. Having fun events like markets, competitions, holding guinness world records, sleepovers, movie nights, making food together, charity events and more.
Outcome: This will not only create awareness as to what our trust’s purpose and message is, but will also create a culture for the youth in Te Puke. A fun, loving, exciting culture that will make the youth want to get involved and enjoy being in our town. This will benefit Te Puke as a community, the youth and everyone involved.
More job opportunities!! Opportunities to learn things that will allow us to get a job such as barista courses, retail experience, farming experience, interpersonal skills – basically anything,
We are always told to get a job yet no one is giving us the skills and tools that will make us appeal to employers. Teenagers WANT a job, we want to work. The hardest part is actually getting the job in the first place.
Cheaper prices in Te Puke!!!! Students can’t afford expensive cafe food, flash clothing from don bayliss and everything else so we have to opt for unhealthy food like hot chips and mcdonalds because it is cheap. IF there were other options like discounts for movies, clothing shops and cafes the youth would have somewhere to go that is local. THis would also benefit the businesses in Te Puke as they would have more customers coming through more often.