YSAR ‘chuffed’ with funding

Dunedin Youth Search and Rescue has received more than $13,000 from Dunedin Host Lions. Testing a...
Dunedin Youth Search and Rescue has received more than $13,000 from Dunedin Host Lions. Testing a Stokes basket for size is Dunedin Host Lions club member Allan McMorran. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
The Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) organisation now has more ways to communicate.

The Dunedin branch of YSAR, which began training earlier this year, has received more than $13,000 from Dunedin Host Lions to buy radio equipment for their operations.

YSAR Dunedin co-ordinator Harrie Geraerts said the funding was "crucial" for the 15 members of the group.

"Our whole operation runs off radio, so we’re really chuffed.

"Being our first year here, it’s a small intake, but we’re hoping to have about 24 members next year."

The three-year programme focused on training teenagers aged 14 to 18, he said.

"For the first year, they learn outdoor-based activities such as living comfortably and safely in the bush. They get an introduction to the ideas of search and rescue and their radio licence.

"By the second year, they learn how to manage a small team of field members, and the key roles of searching."

In the final year the teenagers learnt how to lead a rescue operation, he said.

"There’s also boating courses, helicopter courses; it’s quite intensive."

Mr Geraerts said as New Zealand had such a strong outdoors focus, there was a real need to train people to have the right skills to respond when things did not go to plan.

"I think it’s one of the more important things ... getting young people to think ofthe bigger picture ... that there’s a whole world out there beyond you and your phone."

Dunedin Host Lions chairman Ron Coles said the organisation had a more than 30-year relationship with search and rescue.

Mr Geraerts said Dunedin YSAR’s next recruitment period would be in October.