Starsopoly: Wakatipu High School students make community connections

Starsopoly 2022

On Friday 17 June, 14 local organisations answered the call to occupy a ‘property’ space on a ‘Starsopoly’ board, bringing to life a fun way for Wakatipu High School (WHS) students to connect and learn more about organisations and resources available in their community.

An initiative driven by the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s nationally recognised youth development Stars programme, the objective of Friday’s community adventure was for students to become aware of people and organisations in their community that are available to them, and how they might be able to get involved.

United by the Mental Health Foundation’s ‘5 ways to wellbeing’, each of the 14 organisations represented one of three categories:

  • Connect – talk, listen, be there, feel connected; Mana Tāhuna, WHS Foundation, Whakatipu Youth Trust, Mountain Scene.
  • Be Active – Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood; QLDC Sport & Recreation, WHS Sports Department, ParkRun.
  • Give– Your time, your words, your presence; Salvation Army, Happiness House, Whakatipu Reforestation Trust, Whakatipu Wildlife Trust, EnviroSchools, Sustainable Queenstown, Fire & Ambulance, Land Search & Rescue.

These organisations connected by an overarching theme encouraging students to:

  • Take notice- Remember the simple things that give you joy
  • Keep learning- Embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself

Stars programme coordinator Cheryl-Kay Phillips explained the idea of the day was for both students and participating organisations to learn more about each other and how they could help one another within the community. The brief for organisations was to come up with a creative and fun interactive activity or challenge based around the work they do at their organisation that students would remember them by. Students had half a day to rotate their way around 10/14 organisations that attended after a busy week of junior exams.

Highlights included Fire & Emergency offering every Year 9 student to have a smoke alarm installed in their bedroom free of charge, and students telling Cheryl-Kay their favourite activities such as hungerball from QLDC, Land SAR first aid scenarios, Fire & Emergency show and tell, Salvation Army’s ‘helping someone to stand on two feet’, and many more.

Student feedback reflected that they enjoyed learning more about local community groups, while participating organisations also valued the engagement opportunity and insight into how students in the year 9 age group are interested in the community.

A very special thanks to the local organisations who volunteered to take time out of their very busy lives to participate in our 2022 Stars-opoly Community adventure. We are so grateful!

Stars is a nationally recognised youth development programme set up to lower the negative youth statistics in New Zealand by implementing the tēina/tuākana mentoring model through Graeme Dingle Foundation Southern. The programme makes the transition into secondary school a more positive experience for Year 9 students whilst providing leadership development opportunities for seniors who train to be peer mentors.

Graeme Dingle Foundation Southern programmes are made possible thanks to the charitable support from the community. Thanks to Central Lakes Trust, Wakatipu High School Foundation, Skyline and Kathmandu for their support of Stars at WHS.

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