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LOOP youth week aims to help kids have fun and find their voice

Luka Forman
Rock climbing wall 1 min
Rock climbing wall at LOOP   Luka Forman

LOOP youth centre in Papanui is running events such as rock climbing, gaming and a tech day to celebrate Youth Week.

It's also running an event especially for kids with disabilites on Thursday. 

From the 9th to the 15th of May it's national Youth Week, to celebrate the young people of New Zealand. 

Manager at LOOP youth centre, Hamish Flynn, said for them it's a chance for youth workers to connect with young people and encourage some of them to pursue leadership roles. 

"It's getting the right people at the right time and to do that you need to connect, this is affording us the ability to connect over youth week."

He said the Ministry of Youth Development and Youth Voice Canterbury were looking for people for youth voice panels. 

"There's lots of options where they can actually use their voice to make a massive difference in the city and beyond."

Hamish said connecting with youth was especially important after Covid lockdowns and isolation periods left many unengaged. 

"We've got some kids who haven't been in school all year... a lot of them are truant and also the excuse of Covid, isolation, fear, are melted into a big melting pot."

He said bringing young people into an environment where they're having fun and relaxed makes it easier for youth workers to connect with them. 

Hamish said a group of young people involved in the PAC youth advisory group have helped to plan the events of the week.

He thinks a lot of what's shown of young people in the media is negative and wants to help portray the positive side. 

"There is a phenomonal bunch of young people out there and they're doing some stuff that we should be really proud of, things that my generation wouldn't have even dreamt of.

"All you hear from the older generation is 'it's hopeless', and it's simply not." 

Jeremy Adams handles the operations side of things at LOOP. 

"The way I explain it to people is I do the fun stuff and Hamish does the boring stuff... he does the funding and all the meetings and I hang out with young people and operate the team.

"We work really well together." 

Jeremy said the first step in giving young people a voice was helping them to feel comfortable in themselves. 

"It's been crazy right? In Christchurch over the last 12 or 15 years we've had all sorts of accumulative stuff go on.

"So young people first need a space to be able to be comfortable to then have a voice, to then be heard.

"This is the start of young people being young people."

Jeremy said they hosted a variety of activities for all the different things kids are interested in. 

"One shoe doesn't fit all like it kind of used to... we're trying to be as inclusive and open as we can be to all groups and all stages."