Jade Nicholson and Zane Clifton-Clark jump for joy after being selected to attend Blue Light New Zealand's first International Youth Leadership Programme. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
When it comes to recounting their lives so far, Jade
Nicholson and Zane Clifton-Clark are blunt.
"I was quite naughty. I wagged a lot of school and I got
involved with the wrong crowds," Jade says as Zane nods in
"I was in the same boat as Jade," he says.
But the 17-year-old Logan Park High School Services Academy
pupils have made changes in their lives which have brought
them social and academic success.
And because of this turnaround, the pair were recently
selected to attend Blue Light New Zealand's first
International Youth Leadership Programme.
About 40 young people from New Zealand, Australia and the
Solomon Islands will come together for a week-long
residential programme facilitated by Blue Light in
partnership with the New Zealand Police.
The programme will start at the Police College in Wellington
on November 18 and, over the following five days, they will
be involved in a range of activities covering leadership
training, drug and alcohol education, community service, goal
setting, outdoor education, personal and career development
as well as cultural experiences.
The course will move from Wellington to Rotorua before
finishing up in Auckland at the New Zealand defence force
base in Hobsonville later in the week.
Blue Light chief operating officer Brendon Compton said
today's youth faced several challenges, including within
their families, socially and from their peer group.
"For a variety of reasons, young people with talent in sport,
the arts and academia often don't reach their potential, both
in their work life and personal life.
"This course is to develop selected young people to become
tomorrow's leaders and think about their life in an
Mr Compton said the aim of the programme was to provide those
with leadership potential the opportunity to participate in a
residential-based programme, removing them from the
distractions of modern life such as cellphones, ipods and
PlayStations, and help them to reach their full potential.
"Many of those chosen have overcome significant challenges in
their personal lives and being selected on this programme is
the opportunity of a lifetime," he said.
Zane and Jade were delighted to have been selected, and
believed it was reward for working so hard to turn their
Jade recently achieved NCEA level 1 and plans to become a
freezing worker next year, while Zane was in the process of
passing NCEA level 2.
He plans to pass level 3 next year before embarking on a
career in the New Zealand Army.