No clarity on what youth need
While Matamata-Piako District Council sees the importance of youth events, the preference of those involved is unclear.
The council again plans to apply to the Ministry of Youth Development for funding to help develop youth leadership skills.
Over the last three financial years the council has received grants of $35,000, $51,000 and $16,000.
The money has been used to host events for young people in Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha, while also helping to pay three part-time youth development workers in each of the towns.
Events were organised by youth service providers including Starfish Social Services ( Matamata), Youth Empowerment Service (Te Aroha) and Te Ahurei A Rangatahi (Morrinsville).
Mayor Jan Barnes told last Wednesday’s council meeting she believes this will be the last year of MYD funding.
Her ‘‘vision’’ is a district-wide event such as a tri-nations talent quest.
The council is also investigating the possibility of a youth-led employment expo and a youth leadership programme in which a selected group of young people attend a number of excursions throughout the year to develop their leadership skills.
However, Barnes said the youth service providers prefer individual ward events.
‘‘We are getting mixed messages,’’ she said. ‘‘ We haven’t got a direction yet.’’
Councillor Ash Tanner said: ‘‘Individual events seem to be working better.’’
He suggested the funding be used to help train young people learning to drive.
‘‘This is a major issue in rural areas like ours.’’
However, council chief executive officer Don McLeod was not sure whether the MYD grant could be used for this purpose.
Cr Peter Jager said the council doesn’t want to double up on initiatives already undertaken by local secondary schools. For instance, aspects of an employment expo may be covered by careers advisers and the Gateway work experience programme.
Leadership programmes are also run by local service clubs, Cr Leonie Tisch said.
‘‘We have got to be careful not to take over what’s already happening in the district,’’ she said. ‘‘Let’s not reinvent the wheel.’’