Kawakawa-Moerewa’s turn for Youth in Emergency Services

28 Apr 2015, 6:24 AM

Fifteen nominated young people from the Kawakawa and Moerewa communities are about to get a hands-on insight into the work of emergency services.

Civil DefenceNorthland last year became one of the first regions to roll out Youth in Emergency Services (YES). This national programme is designed to strengthen the connection between young people and their communities, and is funded by the Ministry of Youth Development.

Aged between 15 and 18, the young people taking part in this year's programme were nominated for the programme by local schools, iwi and social services.

They will spend five weekends experiencing the work of key emergency services including St John, Red Cross, NZ Fire, Rural Fire, NZ Police and Civil Defence.

The programme begins on Saturday May 02 and culminates in a 'combined services' exercise based around a disaster scenario on the weekend of June 06.

Participants will be honoured at a formal graduation and will also be offered the opportunity to volunteer for two months with the emergency service of their choice.

As well as encouraging a more active participation in their local communities, the programme helps participants develop useful practical skills as well as encouraging them to volunteer.

Councillor Paul Dimery, a former police officer and the Northland Regional Council's representative on the Northland Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, says YES can provide a pathway to further involvement in the emergency services field, either as a volunteer or as part of a paid career.

"It also enables a greater appreciation from the communities themselves about the value and contribution their young people can make," he says.

Some of the participants in last year's programme went on to become emergency services volunteers and will return to this year's programme in the role of ambassadors