INVOLVE 2018 – the return

After an 8 year hiatus the epic youth development conference, INVOLVE, was held in Wellington 13 – 15 August 2018! It was a momentus occasion with such excitement and encouragement from the youth sector.

Last week (Monday 13 – Wednesday 15 August) the INVOLVE conference was held around Wellington. Involve is an epic national youth development conference held every two years in Aotearoa since 2002. The last Involve was held in 2010 in Auckland, so the 8 year hiatus had already built momentum towards the 2018 event being extraordinary.

On the evening of Monday 13th, the conference was opened with a traditional pōwhiri which was guided by kaumātua, Matua James Makowharemahihi, and supported by Te Kura Māori o Porirua.

Youth Development Minister Peeni Henare opened proceedings before attendees connected over dinner. Keynote presenters at Involve included: Judge Andrew Becroft (Children’s Commissioner), Mana Williams-Eade (Youth Board Trustee for VOYCE Whakarongo Mai), Laura O’Connell Rapira (Director of ActionStation), Glenn Colquhoun (GP and Poet) and Dr Michelle Johansson (Creative Director of the Black Friars Theatre Company). All keynote presentations are available for streaming at the Ara Taiohi website: http://www.arataiohi.org.nz/initiatives/involve.

Involve 2018 was a collaboration between Ara Taiohi, New Zealand Youth Mentoring Network, Society for Youth Health Professionals and The Collaborative Trust.

Over 800 youth development practitioners and young people connected, learnt and shared with each other throughout the two and half days. Over 100 presentations were made during Involve 2018, all presenters were voices from the sector sharing their research, creativity, resources, frameworks and stories from their mahi!

Topics of the workshops included mentoring, youth health care, rainbow youth development, online tools, mental health, refugee/migrant stories, amplifying young Māori and Pasifika voices, youth in local government, youth work ethics, co-design, training programmes and many more!

The amazing Black Friars Theatre Company wrote a song for Involve and they performed and taught it to attendees during the last session of Involve! The performance can be watched at 22 minutes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYnkJcP3J5g. It’s such a catchy waiata we’re still humming it in the office.

The concluding moment of Involve was the youth sector thanking the wonderful Anya Satyanand who is moving on from the role of Executive Officer of Ara Taiohi to head a the New Zealand office of The Prince’s Trust. She has been an endless source of creativity, positivity and support for the youth development sector.

It was announced that Jane Zintl has been appointed as Ara Taiohi’s Chief Executive Officer. Jane has been a long-time advocate of professional development and ethics in the youth development sector; she is currently the Professional Association Development Manager at Ara Taiohi.

It is hoped that the energy, networking, inspiration and professional development mutually shared from Involve will evolve into more Involve adjacent events and meet-ups! Keep checking the Involve 2018 Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1877174148965273/ and the Involve site: https://www.involve.org.nz/ to stay in the know!

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