Run For Charity
Key to the Westport St John Division programme are all the outdoor activities that are run. Westport is a fantastic place to run these engaging activities, from ski camps and tramping to whitewater rafting and surfing at the beach; badges and first aid lessons are cleverly crafted into these. At their most recent divisional camp, cadets had lessons on navigation, river crossing, caving, bivvy making, and bush first aid.
Over the years, Westport Division have seen the benefits of encouraging cadets to step outside their comfort zone and push their limits time and time again. It allows cadets to learn more about themselves and their capabilities, encourages them to embrace challenges, and promotes teamwork. They learn to take care of themselves and others, and apply the skills they have learned to making a difference in the community. It is a different approach to youth development, but one that works wonders in the Buller community.
The other core aspect of the Westport St John Division programme are the regularly scheduled divisional nights. It is during these nights that much of the badge learning and first aid training occurs. At division our focus is fun and participation; to encourage this, most of our lessons involve learning through games, practical activities, poster making, and discussion. Often a research component is required in badges, and allowing cadets to bring their research as a speech or group discussion allows division to feel different from school, and also aids in the development of useful skills such as public speaking and effective communication. This has proven to be successful, with cadets really growing in confidence.
Part of making sure that the Westport Division is consistently able to offer a range of outdoor activities and a wide assortment of lessons, involves regularly including knowledgeable community members during divisional nights and camps. There are many fantastic individuals in the Buller community who are only too happy to share their knowledge, and support the cadets in achieving the objectives of their badges.
With the diverse and large numbers of cadets that regularly attend division, Westport focusses highly on the St John core values: Do the Right Thing, Side by Side, Make it Better, Straight Up and Open Minds. Cadets are regularly given core value tickets which go into a tin for a prize at the end of each term or camp. In addition, they have also created their own core value song which is often sung at division and camps. Additionally, as a true embodiment of the St John core values, cadets are often seen fundraising in the community, or assisting with community projects.
The management team believe that along with the diverse range of cadets, a diverse range of leaders is beneficial too – and having planning meetings over dessert certainly helps with engagement!
To find out more about the St John Youth programme and what we get up to in Westport, check out the video that was made to celebrate 90 years of St John Youth