Call for youngsters to join St John

Delivering training at one of Cambridge St John youth programme evenings are (from left) Karena Rix, Sarah Rix and Kayden Middlemiss.

Cambridge St John is embarking upon a recruitment drive to get more youngsters involved.

Both the Cambridge and Cambridge 2 divisions of the local St John Youth Programme have a noticeable shortage of Penguins, the youngest members of the tiered level of membership within the St John Youth structure.

The St John Youth Programme helps youngsters develop leadership and life skills and trains them in first aid and health care, all within an environment which balances fun and education.  Penguins are aged 6-8, while the Cadet age range from 8-18 incorporates Juniors, Intermediates and Seniors.  Thereafter, those members keen on continuing with St John either become leaders or move into different areas of the service.

Karena Rix and Jordan Redpath manage the Cambridge and Cambridge 2 youth programmes respectively, with Karena leading the training on Tuesday nights, and Jordan on Thursday nights. Karena has 31 in her division, but none at Penguin level, while Jordan has just two Penguins making up his current roll of 19. Ensuring there are enough Penguins coming through is important to the long-term wellbeing of the entire programme, they said.

“Without enough Penguins coming in to replace those moving up the ranks we are going to have a real problem down the track,” said Karena. “Young people can join at any time, but those who miss out on going through the initial training will have to catch up before they can progress.”

Karena said the Penguins – headed by the mascot Primo the Penguin – meet once a week during the school term. They learn skills across various topics, aimed at attaining badges in each one.

“Health and first aid is at the core of St John, and an appropriate level of training in first aid is incorporated into whatever activity they are learning.”

At Cadet level, they develop leadership and decision-making skills, build self-esteem, learn about helping in the community, and enhance their training in first aid and emergency skills. All Cadets participate in the ‘Grand Prior’s Award Scheme’ where they work towards accumulating more badges.

Both divisions need to add to their leadership teams.

“We’d be looking at people to come and assist us in delivering our curriculum – and joining the fun,” Jordan said. “Due to the variety in our programmes, there is an assortment of roles and ways in which our leaders are involved. We’re looking for committed, self-motivated people who are willing to volunteer an hour and a half a week and put themselves forward for some challenging but rewarding roles.”

“It’s not all just about first aid. We can provide on-the-job training, mentorship and support tailored to the skills that they may bring with them.”

More information is from Karena Rix at karena.rix@stjohn.org.nz, or Jordan Redpath at Jordan.redpath@stjohn.org.nz.

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