If I’m really honest I didn’t know Youth Work was a “thing” for many years! I was a young person in a small rural part of Auckland and support for rangatahi was not visible in our community. I was heavily involved in coaching drama and netball and looking back it was very much strengths-based support alongside building skills – although perhaps not so participatory! Over the years I spent a lot of time with young people in these two worlds without realising that there was this whole world of people doing the same thing that I could have connected in with!
I believe firmly that young people are incredible and our role as youth workers is simply to provide the glitter. To me Youth Work is about young people, by young people, for young people and I’m around to support that in safe ways at the young people’s request. I particularly love working with younger rangatahi who have been identified as gifted. I’m also fairly boring about how important it is to support young people to vote.
I feel such a deep connection to Korowai Tupu. When I eventually found Youth Work as a sector I felt like I’d found my tribe – and at every turn people couldn’t have been more welcoming, supportive and interesting. I see Korowai Tupu as an extension of this. It’s this amazing, diverse whānau working towards the same goal in a range of ways and mediums – and there is something to learn from each member. I’m particularly super-duper-ridiculous proud to be seeing some of my students become members. That makes my heart sing.