Category Archives: Youth

Calling all youth who want to have their say!

The Blind Foundation is seeking feedback as to how they can improve Youth events. Currently the main Youth focused events, camps and workshops are the EPIC Youth Event, Youth SEED and being a leader at the annual Summer Camp.

A possible idea of a super event is currently being brainstormed (a combination of summer camp, EPIC and Youth SEED). The event would last 4-5 days and may include workshops on life hacks, leadership skills, camp activities or other Youth relevant content/activities.

Please fill out the google form to ensure these events are reflective of your opinion.

If you have any questions about the form please email abeaver@blindfoundation.org.nz.

Image shows the Youth SEED participants in the countryside.

Earlier this month 10 Blind Foundation youth clients came together for the annual Youth SEED programme, this year held in Christchurch.

The programme focuses on leadership and personal growth, with a key goal for clients to achieve Success, Empowerment, Expertise and Development (SEED).

Mana was established from the beginning with a welcome Mihi (Maori introduction).

What followed was a comprehensive three-day programme including a variety of leadership development workshops, personality profiles, teamwork exercises and self-awareness sessions.

The weekend’s learning was reinforced with some fantastic outdoor activities. The rain and cold didn’t stop participants facing their fears by soaring down a flying fox and dropping down a giant swing.

As part of the weekend, participants were asked to plan and implement a community project of choice. They came up with some great ideas; from volunteering as mentors, to running a sports camp, and participating in the development of Blind Foundation’s Youth Council.

Armed with a new sense of self-awareness and support, this group of young leaders are ready to take on new challenges.

If you would like more information about future Youth SEED programmes, please contact Heather McGill on 03 375 4327 or email hmcgill@blindfoundation.org.nz.

If you know a blind or low vision kid aged between 8 and 14, then make sure their parent/caregiver knows about the Blind Foundation Taupo Kids Camp 2018!

It’s a brilliant opportunity for blind and low vision children from around New Zealand to make friends, try new things and above all have fun this coming summer.

Applications close on 1st October and late applications will not be considered, so if you’re thinking of enrolling your child, now’s the time to get the form in.

Visit the Taupo 2018 Kids Summer Camp event page for more information and a copy of the application form.

Image shows Brianna Houston listening to something on her tablet using headphones

Thirteen-year-old Brianna Houston is like any other high school student; she loves hanging out with friends, listening to music, playing instruments, singing, YouTube-ing, writing, and going to the beach.  The one thing that sets her apart is that she’s blind.

Being blind doesn’t stop her from doing the things she loves, things you would expect anyone else her age to do.  Brianna recently put pen to paper to articulate her feelings in a poem; Don’t judge what you see.

Don’t judge what you see

By Brianna Houston

Don’t judge what you see

because there’s so much more to me.

You see me walking with my cane,

it doesn’t mean I’m not the same.

It doesn’t mean I don’t have a personality

that I have no fun, no originality.

Some people don’t understand the meaning of blind

and that it’s my eyes that don’t work, not my mind.

Some people don’t know I have feelings too

that I laugh, I cry, that I’m no different from you.

I’ve never let my absence of sight get in the way

Just because of things you think and say

You would think differently once I show

that I am capable of more than you know

So before you start with you exclusion

get to know me then come to a conclusion

Because everyone deserves to be treated right

whether they have none or all of their sight.

This is the thing some people don’t see

and if you can’t accept that, you’ll never know me.

This is an opportunity for 10 members to take on leadership skills and apply them at our Children’s Summer camp 2018 as a Young Leader, in a positive peer to peer environment.

What is required of a Young Leader?

This opportunity is open for clients who are between the ages of 17 to 22.

  • Ideally you have attended the Blind Foundation Youth SEED programme in the past or you are wanting to embark in Youth SEED in the future.
  • Enjoy working with children aged 8-14 years
  • Someone who is wanting to further their leadership skills and be given an opportunity to give back.
  • Have good adaptive daily living and orientation and mobility skills.
  • Will show empathy and enthusiasm and be available to support children as much as possible throughout camp.

When and Where?

Camp starts on Monday 15th January through to Friday 19th January 2018. However Young Leaders who are accepted will be required to arrive at camp a day early (Sunday 14th January 2018) to attend an evening and morning workshop around leadership.

Camp will be held at: Mi Camp, 100 Rawhira Road, Waitetoko, RD 2, Turangi 3382

Transport and Cost?

As a Young Leader/ Blind Foundation Volunteer we request that everyone makes their own way to and from Camp. However, if this is difficult an alternative option may be available – this will be arranged once accepted into the programme.

There is no cost for attending camp – however all transport costs to and from camp will be at your own expense.

So how do I apply?

Please complete and return Summer Camp – Young Leaders Rego 2017 Electronic version event registration Form (adults) and medication(if applicable) forms by no later than Friday 1st September 2017 to Latesha Sharp,  Recreation and Community Advisor, via e-mail at lsharp@blindfoundation.org.nz  or by post to Fale Kotuku, 20 McVilly Road, Manurewa, Auckland.

For further information, please contact Latesha on 09 281 6503

Please note:

Late registrations will not be considered. Numbers are limited and there is a selection process meaning not everyone who applies is guaranteed selection. All accepted Young Leaders will need to go through the Blind Foundation volunteer process prior to camp.

Kids Summer Camp

15 – 19 January 2018

Kids Summer Camp offers up to 20 children from all over New Zealand a chance to try new activities and make some lasting friendships. Blind Foundation staff that specialize in child development, sport and recreation activities and social development will be making sure everyone has the best time possible. Volunteers that were once children on camp themselves act as role models ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Who can attend?

Blind Foundation members aged 8 – 14 years that are independent in self-care and mobility. Children must be able to follow verbal instructions and add to social situations.

What can you expect?

A fun packed week, with plenty of opportunities to try new sports and camp activities. Some of these could include goalball, blind soccer, swimming, tandem-biking, kayaking, high ropes and waterslide.
Kids will stay in cabin style bunk rooms, have plenty of good food, evening performances and dress-ups.

How much?

$200 or 3 days ‘Carer Support’ – If using carer support, please return a signed but not dated form.

Where is it?

Mi Camp, 100 Rawhira Road, Waitetoko, RD 2, Turangi

Transport

We strongly encourage parents to pick up and drop off kids, but where possible, staff may be able to assist with transport; this will be arranged once accepted onto the programme.

How do I apply?

Please complete and return the 2018 Kids Camp registration Form (clicking the link starts a document download) by 1 October 2017 to Jo Hagele jhagele@blindfoundation.org.nz
Recreation and Community Advisor  or post to Braille House, 121 Adelaide Road, Mt Cook, Wellington.

Please note:

Registrations close 1 October, late registrations will not be considered.

Payment will be required upon acceptance of position.

Numbers are limited and there is a selection process, meaning not everyone who applies is guaranteed a place.

Image shows the participants at the annual Taupo summer camp outdoors amongst trees

In January, 22 Blind Foundation clients, between 8-14 years of age, attended the week-long annual Taupo Summer Camp. Nine young adult Blind Foundation clients supported the group as mentors and junior leaders.

The annual Taupo camp is filled with fun and exciting activities in a great location; it is also a huge opportunity for growth.

It can be intimidating going to a large camp without a familiar support system, especially as it was some Blind Foundation clients’ first time away from home. However, with the help of the leaders, any inhibitions didn’t last long as the kids’ skills, confidence and independence grew exponentially.

The mentors and junior leaders had once attended the Camp as participants themselves.  They have since transitioned to leadership positions so they that can help the younger clients have the same great experience they had.

The nine young leaders who attended the Camp were essential to its success as they ensured that campers were doing the right things, were safe and had fun.

Hana Bainbridge is one leader who attended this year. It was through getting involved in the Leadership Camp, held by the Blind Foundation every couple of years, that Hana made the transition from participant to leader.

“My favourite part of being a leader was getting to see the campers enjoying the camp and getting to catch up with the other leaders.  Being at the camp provided a sense of belonging,” said Hana.

The leadership skills that Hana has learnt through the Blind Foundation have helped her in other aspects of her life, “being a leader in the Taupo Summer Camp helped mebecome a school leader in my last year of high school.”

Having the opportunity to attend as leaders keeps Blind Foundation clients involved after they are too old to attend as participants. Their knowledge and experience of the camps makes them experts on the event and ensures all involved have a great time.

The Camp was enjoyed by all who attended with some already looking forward to next year.

Connecting with youth Three young people wearing helmets prepare to go rafting

The Youth Engagement Strategy was created by young blind and low vision Kiwis, with Blind Foundation staff.

It’s called YES and is all about young people leading independent and productive lives.

It’s about developing opportunities and activities for 17 – 25 year olds to grow confidence and leadership skills.  And it’s about young people connecting with each other – hanging out in their local area or digitally.

The Blind and VI Youth NZ Facebook group is a chance for youth to connect online – sharing news and opportunities.

There’s a whole lot being planned in this space including the EPIC youth event, which had its first weekend in 2017, and lots of local groups and activities.

To find out more about what’s coming up, or to join the Facebook group, please get in touch on 0800 24 33 33 or email youth@blindfoundation.org.nz.

EPIC Youth

EPIC (Encouraging, Participating, Inspiring and Connecting) Youth is a youth led initiative of the Blind Foundation.

The EPIC event was held in April 2017 in Wellington. It was an opportunity for young people aged 17-25 who are blind or have low vision to develop skills and confidence amongst other VIPs. It was also an awesome opportunity to make new mates and catch up with old ones! Attendees participated in workshops as well as undertaking exciting physical activities. To find out more about future events, join the Blind and VI Youth NZ Facebook group, or visit the EPIC Youth website.

Kayakers on Lake Taupo

Registrations for the 2017 Taupo Summer Camp are now open.

The Taupo Summer Camp offers up to 25 children from all over the North Island a chance to try new activities and make some lasting friendships.

Blind Foundation staff that specialise in child development, recreation activities and social development will be making sure everyone has the best time possible. Volunteers that were once children on camp themselves act as role models ensuring everything runs smoothly.

Who can attend?

Blind Foundation clients aged 8 – 14 that are independent in self-care and mobility. Children must be able to follow verbal instructions and add to social situations.

What can you expect?

Children will be staying in small cabin style bunk rooms with five or six others. Daily activities could include abseiling, kayaking, rock wall climbing, zorbing, waterslide, evening performances, excursions to some of Taupo’s attractions and plenty of good food at meal times. If you have a musical instrument or a talent then please bring this along.

How much does it cost?

$200 or 3 days ‘Carer Support’ – If using carer support, please return a signed but not dated form.

Where is it?

Mi Camp is located at the end of Rawhira Road in Mission Bay, just off SH1. 10 minutes north of Turangi and 30 minutes south of Taupo.

Transport

Staff will likely be able to assist with transport from most locations; this will be arranged once accepted onto programme.

So how do I apply?

Please download and complete this registration form and return it and medication(if applicable) forms by 1st November to Recreation and Community Advisor – Jo Hagele jhagele@blindfoundation.org.nz or post – PO box 27177, Marion Square, Wellington, 6141

Please note.

Late registrations will not be considered.
Payment will be required upon acceptance of position.
Numbers are limited and there is a selection process meaning not everyone who applies is guaranteed selection.

Youth MPs on the steps of parliament

Imagine a world where all websites and applications are accessible.

That was the vision that our future leaders discussed during the 2016 Youth Parliament.

121 Youth MPs from around the country attended Youth Parliament in Wellington on July 20 and July 21.

The event is an opportunity for young New Zealanders to learn first-hand about New Zealand’s democracy and to influence decision making.

As part of the experience Youth MPs debated a mock bill on Accessible Web Pages and Apps. The mock bill is aimed at improving website and app accessibility for people with print disabilities in New Zealand.

The bill received overwhelming support from the youth MPs and was passed.

Among those promoting the bill was 16-year-old Blind Foundation client Britnee Tapara from Lower Hutt who was paired with National list MP Chris Bishop.

Britnee made a powerful speech on the bill which many described as being the highlight of the two day event.

“I have never let my vision defeat me. I like to think of it as playing the game of life on hard mode,” Britnee told stuff.co.nz.

In the lead up to the event, Blind Foundation staff briefed youth MPs on the importance of online accessibility.

Blind Foundation client and former Youth MP Ezekiel Robson also met with the officials from the Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Youth Development to support the initiative.

Dianne Rogers, Policy Manager at the Blind Foundation, says it was fantastic to see how enthusiastic the youth MPs were about accessibility.

“Thanks to their support the future of accessibility in New Zealand is really looking bright,” she says.

Over the coming months the Blind Foundation will be carrying out a survey to find out what New Zealand organisations are doing to make their web pages and mobile apps accessible.