A Tauranga teen’s tenacity won him an award at a recent Blue Light Life Skills programme.
Caleb Evans won the Overall Merit Award ahead of 22 others, at the Blue Light camp held at Whenuapai Airforce base.
Young people from across the North Island spent five days doing drills, swimming, having a go at rock climbing and an escape room.
They also learnt life skills such as cooking, cleaning and how to change a tyre as well as getting up early to tidy their room for a 6am inspection.
Participants also got the chance to experience life in the Defence Force by exploring RNZAF helicopters and visiting the helicopter hanger and parachute division.
Another challenge was doing press ups in a bomb squad suit.
“The staff helped us push through it, making us more confident and always telling us not to give up,” says 15-year-old Caleb.
“They encouraged us by saying ‘you can do it’. They meant it and they were right.”
Blue Light life skills coordinator Abbe-Mae Henry says: “Caleb was awarded the Overall Merit Award for his consistent progress throughout the camp, his self-discipline, and tautoko of others”.
The Life Skills programme has run in partnership with NZ Defence Force for the past 12 years, and adventure-based experiential learning is a key part of the programme.
It provides 14-17-year olds with critical life skills such as self-development, self-control, and teamwork that will enable them to be successful at home, at school, in their communities and during employment.
Up to 12 courses are held each year in Auckland, the Central North Island and Burnham.
Attendees are referred by Blue Light branch members, schools, community agencies and parents.
After the camps students work with their referrer to ensure the positive work they have achieved continues.
Blue Light is a not-for-profit organisation that works in partnership to create positive connections between young people and the police, helping youngsters find direction, fun and a sense of belonging within their communities.