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