Friday, 23 October 2009

LETTER TO THE EDITORS

LETTER TO THE EDITORS

Meeting the needs of Blueskin Bay youth

by Scott Willis

There's a strong history of groups in Waitati and Blueskin Bay working
together to make wonderful things happen. Many groups, trusts and
organisations in our wee area work cooperatively and openly on
volunteer power, building strong consensus. That is not to say there
is never dissent – there often is – but when consensus is
established it is all the stronger for having considered those
different viewpoints and working constructively to alleviate concerns.

And now there's a project for youth in Blueskin Bay. My hope is that
the Blueskin Youth Centre Administration Committee is able to work
with the Blueskin Bay community and local community groups to develop
strong consensus and support. As a proponent of community consultation
and strategic planning, along with an offer of support on these things
and funding, I've been 'shot at' by some members of the current
committee. Yet many of the same, I know, have the best of intentions
and to make a project for youth work there a certain simple steps that
cannot be avoided if funding support is desired.

First is developing Vision and Mission statements, with clear
objectives/goals. Making these publicly available is essential to
ensure there is no doubling up or unfortunate mistakes. Second is
broad consultation, with other community groups and the whole
community – allowing broad input into the selection of the best
project at the best moment. Third is project management – getting it
done. While there may have been mistakes in the process, it would be
unfortunate to waste the volunteer energy the committee has put into
it, but a pity too to work on something unlikely to succeed.

Rapid action can follow consultation that establishes a clear
objective fitting within a vision – all of which will often win the
support of funding partners and will have the support of the
community. I am confident that with a renewed effort and the right
will (and public meetings) we can yet move forward to provide positive
outcomes for the youth of Blueskin Bay.

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Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
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