A Life Worth Living: Teenagers, The Family, and Health
Raratonga, The Cook Islands - 22-24 April 1997
All About You, Youth Forum
The organisers decided, after several meetings and brainstorming sessions, that the most logical approach for the forum to focus on is the strengthening and enhancing of the individual's confidence and competence rather than a general approach. The forum therefore was designed with the following aim and objectives:
The aim - To develop one's self-esteem and self-confidence
a. To develop each individual's strengths
b. To promote a sense of purpose
c. To encourage positive and constructive decision making through discussions
d. to get motivated and to motivate others
e. To learn and share with others their experiences
f. To enjoy themselves
There were three days of programme. They were:
"What Makes You Special" To develop and build confidence and for each participant to realise her own worth, virtues and value and how this is conveyed to others.
"What Difference Can You Make" To develop the skills of motivation and personal achievement to make things better or possible. The participants to realise their potential now and in the future.
"How to Make that Difference Work" To find a practical approach to setting and achieving goals. Action plans would be developed by each participant setting priorities with short to medium term goals.
The participants to the forum were selected within the age range of 16 to 21. The purpose of this approach was to target this particular age group as these young people are still in the formative stage which makes them very receptive to new concepts. It was also the organisers' expectation that the participants, being very young would be much more able to retain what they learned from the forum to assist them in their future plans.
There were a total of twenty-two (22) participants of which five (5) were males and seventeen (17) females. This total also included one participant from each of the five islands of the Southern Group. The forum was also privileged with the presence of Miss Luisa Burgess, who played Rebecca in the New Zealand television series Sortland Street. Miss Burgess actively participated in the forum during the second and final days and was presented with a Certificate of Participation for her contributions.
The invited tutors and speakers for the forum were carefully selected using the following criteria:
- They were to be young people themselves as they will serve as role models for the participants to look up to
- Sessions must be carried out in an interactive, hands-on and practical approach (group exercises, role-plays, etc.) as opposed to teacher/classroom environment.
- Language use must be both English and Cook Islands Maori.
- There is no right or wrong questions - tutors to highlight this to participants and encourage them to express openly their views and opinions with regards to the topics discussed.
The overall result of the Forum has been extremely rewarding and satisfying to the participants and the organisers. Individual Action Plans on what each participant aims to carry out after the forum were submitted. For the organisers, it has been a learning and rewarding experience. The most significant outcome however was the obvious changes in the participants as the forum progressed. A considerable number of them were more open and were able to express themselves without much inhibition. As a gesture of their appreciation to the organisers, the participants prepared and presented a thank you note along with shell necklaces to the organisers at the closing ceremony.
The Closing Ceremony was attended by various dignitaries including Mrs. Kopu Brown, Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Mrs. Margaret Karika Ariki and the Hon. Ngereteina Puna, Minister of Education, who gave a stimulating speech encouraging the participants to take what they had learned and share with their members. the Minister also presented the participants with their Certificate of Participation.
To provide an opportunity for the shy participants to air their view and opinions on the various topics covered, a sealed box was provided whereby participants with queries were to write these down anonymously and have these questions discussed during this particular session.
Two health related questions on the effects of alcohol and smoking were discussed. Ms. Jane Lamb, a professional in this field spoke to the participants on the damaging effects of smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
That a follow-up forum be organised for 1998. That the duration be extended to five days (1 week) to address adequately a wider range of issues and topics which would also include social skills and spiritual development; that financial assistance be obtained through donor agencies to ensure participation from all islands in the Cook Islands; that an equal gender representation to the forum be encouraged; that the Education Department include youth issues (topics such as Confidence Building, Work Skills, etc.) as part of the tertiary curriculum.
The President, Executive Members of the PPSEAWA Cook Islands Chapter and the International Vice President would like to note their sincere appreciation to the following individuals and organisations for their invaluable contributions towards the successful implementation of the "All About You" Youth Forum: * Nestle' * Ministry of Internal Affairs * Air Rarotonga * Mrs. Anne Tierney & the Sails Kitchen Staff * Mr. Tim Tierney * Mr. Gus Myers and his pannelists - * Derek Peyroux, Robert Wigmore Jnr, Norman and Jean Welsh, Marama Marsters, Simone Wichman, John Whitta * Rotaract members - Nani, Tangee and Julianne * Mr. Tu Tangi * The CITC Parmacy Staff - Leanne & Lyndell * Gill Vaiimene and Jenny Merton * Mr. Felix Enoka * Mrs. Jane Wichman * Pou Andrew * Pastor Mata Makara * The support staff of PPSEAWA, Anna Koteka, Vira Tavioni, Tiraa Anguna, Paddy Walker, Elizabeth Henderson, Jane Lamb, Jessie Sword, Nima McBride, Irai Wilkins, Dorice Reid, Theresa Manarangi-Trott * Luisa Burgess
Last Modified: June 05, 2010