Chris­tian camp to con­nect

Marlborough Midweek - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PAULA HULBURT

The or­gan­iser of a Chris­tian camp for chil­dren be­lieves they may be piv­otal in the fight against de­pres­sion in the young.

Scrip­ture Union South Is­land camps con­sul­tant Paul Humphreys is or­gan­is­ing a four-day camp for year 7-10 pupils later this year.

The for­mer Marl­bor­ough Youth Trust worker has re­turned to New Zealand af­ter work­ing in the United States.

He be­lieves the camps will help tackle two key com­po­nents of de­pres­sion; loss of hope and loss of so­cial con­nec­tion.

‘‘New Zealand is at a point when it has to re­alise its ap­proach to men­tal health has been a bit piece­meal and ad hoc.

‘‘It’s ironic, when we’re more con­nected than ever be­fore, that young peo­ple do feel dis­con­nected from oth­ers.

‘‘The camp is not about ram­ming re­li­gion down any­one’s throat but sim­ply run­ning through all the pos­si­bil­i­ties and let­ting them de­cide for them­selves,’’ he says.

It will be held at the Pine Val­ley Out­door Cen­tre on North­bank Rd, near Blen­heim, and in­clude ac­tiv­i­ties such as moun­tain bik­ing, tramp­ing and sea kayak­ing.

Paul, who has worked in the youth sup­port sec­tor for the past 15 years, says chil­dren in the year 7 to 10 age bracket have been ‘‘slip­ping through the cracks’’.

He says the pres­sures on younger peo­ple are dif­fer­ent to those faced grow­ing up a decade ago.

‘‘So­cial me­dia is like a new drug that we haven’t done all the tests on yet.

‘‘It can be used for un­der­stand­ing things bet­ter but we have got to be care­ful; it’s not black and white and there needs to be a happy medium.

‘‘The camp is about get­ting chil­dren to think for them­selves, make con­nec­tions and gain some con­fi­dence.

‘‘We would like to build up some lead­er­ship skills and some re­silience in that kids can opt out but not drop out.

‘‘If they don’t think they can ride a bike to the top of the hill, that’s fine but we will give them an­other op­tion.

‘‘The re­al­ity is that some­times we can’t cope but there is al­ways help at hand,’’ he says.

The camp, called Gain, will take place from Oc­to­ber 1 to Oc­to­ber 4. The cost is $175. For fur­ther sunz.org.nz.

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PHOTO: STUFF

For­mer Marl­bor­ough Youth Trust worker Paul Humphreys is or­gan­is­ing a Chris­tian camp at Pine Val­ley with the Scrip­ture Union.

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