Mad about Clutha district

Photo by Helena De Reus.
Photo by Helena De Reus.

Youths wanting to make a difference were celebrated in Balclutha last week, with the conclusion of the Mad programme.

About 70 people gathered at the Rosebank Lodge in Balclutha to congratulate the 27 young Clutha people who took part in Making a Difference (Mad).

Pictured are Mad programme members (from left, back row) Matthew Ankerson, James Haig, Liam Smith, Logan Stewart, Hayden Gold, Aydan Edwards, Brayden Wilson; middle row, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan, Emma Shaw, Tom Blackmore, Rhea Cameron, Clutha district youth co-ordinator Daniel Maze, Kaitlin de Geest, Thomas Houghton; front row, Tony Harborne, Corie-Anne Solomon, Taylor Pennell, Jayden Ward, Michael Kuiti, and Rachel Dick.

This year, the programme worked with young people across three different schemes: the Clutha Challenge, one-on-one mentoring, and a leadership course.

Co-ordinator Daniel Maze said the project was in its sixth year, and remained popular with young people between the ages of 12 and 24.

The Clutha Challenge saw a group of 12 take part in a 12-week programme designed to increase work skills, career opportunities and community involvement, through boosting fitness and self-esteem and changing attitudes.

The group also spent several hours clearing a large section in Balclutha to raise money for projects.

Earlier this year, as part of the leadership programme, 10 Lawrence teenagers restored an assault course built by the army more than 20 years ago.

Mr Maze said the teens, all year 12 and year 13 pupils at Lawrence Area School, spent more than 200 hours over 14 weeks restoring the course.

The group and some volunteers from the community worked to clear overgrown tracks, fix old obstacles, make new ones, and create signs and maps.

At a presentation at Rosebank Lodge on Thursday, Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan thanked programme participants for the part they had played in lifting the "perception of the district".

He also congratulated Mr Maze for gaining his level 6 diploma in social services.

Mr Cadogan said the success of the Mad programme was a result of Mr Maze's empathy with the district's youth.