With an easy smile and a passion for young people, Cromwell Youth Trust lead youth worker Rhys Smith has hit the ground running since beginning his new role last month, making connections with schools and community organisations.
Born and bred in Sydney, Mr Smith brings more than seven years’ experience as a youth worker to his role.
In it he will work to provide activities and a safe space for youth between the ages of 11 and 18.
Before discovering his passion for youth work, Mr Smith was ananimator in Sydney.
But being ‘‘stuck behind a computer’’ was very ‘‘laborious and boring’’.
He started doing volunteer work in residential care, and from there he found working with young people gave him an ‘‘amazing drive’’.
Seeing young people ‘‘develop and grow’’ was very satisfying, and he enjoyed the level of creativity and energy they had.
Providing a supportive network so youth could face challenges and overcome obstacles was a key element of his role.
Making young people feel ‘‘comfortable and safe’’ was all about being adaptable to their different needs.
‘‘It is very different for everybody,’’ he said.
The Cromwell Youth Trust was a service that was ‘‘open to all’’.
‘‘All our programmes are designed to be supportive, no matter what challenges kids are facing.’’
The trust ran a free drop-in youth centre in Murray Tce that was open to all children from year 7up.
There was also a mentoring programme that supported children at ‘‘different stages of their life’’.
Holiday programmes had activities including paintball, horse riding, ice skating and trips to the movies.
Youth development programmes would start next term, running from four to six weeks.
‘‘They will be about kids learning a new skill.’’
Some topics included cooking, leadership, mountain biking and fitness.
The trust also had a presence in the community at events run by others or by themselves.
‘‘So we do a whole lot.’’
One of the first projects Mr Smith had been working on was a website for the trust (cromwellyouthtrust.co.nz), which provided information and resources as well as a new online booking system.
The trust was also running a competition for young people to suggest a new name and logo for the youth centre.
The competition runs from June 10 to 14. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop off suggestions at the youth centre.