Good Practices

Marlborough Youth Trust builds leadership and confidence

Ashleigh McElhinney and Poppy Lane part of the MYTAG (Marlborough Youth Trust Advisory Group). “They were part of the planning and set up and pack down of the Springfest event – A Youth music event that hosts ups to 400 youth,” says Maxine.

Marlborough Youth Trust (MYT) connects youth, builds confidence, and gives everyone opportunities to contribute to the Marlborough community. MYT has over 2000 young people, aged between 12 – 24 participate in MYT programmes and events. Courses and groups include after school youth visitors in MySpace, CACTUS, YEP-Youth Employability Programme, Youth in Emergency Services, Young Adults group, Young Parents Group, MYT Queer group and MYT Community Fri youth group

MYT also organises four key youth events for the Marlborough Youth, and they provide information about services within Marlborough, the events have themes like, Springfest – Mental Health Awareness Week, NZ Youth Week, Christmas outdoor movie for the community and Matariki-Beachfest.

MYT Seddon Youth Worker, Maxine Sweeney says young people connect with MYT through alternative education, Work and Income, self-referrals, family referrals, community groups and colleges. She says they have an open-door policy and work with each young person to discover their strengths to help direct them towards a suited career choice.

“We give them a different look on what is important within the workforce,” says Maxine. “Young people get so caught up, that they’ve got to be perfect – you’ve got to be smart and that there is no hope if you don’t have those NCEA levels – they miss opportunities because they are scared to apply for jobs that have lists of things that you need to have, so they never put themselves out there.”

Creativity, activity, and laughter can help build confidence and esteem in young people, especially for young people with high anxiety. This is prevalent in how MYT approaches its work. Maxine says she finds the leadership and confidence building activities she does with the young people really benefits them. “Not everyone learns the same,” says Maxine. “You can try and force a young person to learn the way you think they should learn, or you can go with them and learn the way that’s easy for them, then all those natural strengths suddenly come out.”

Three activities Maxine does to help build leadership and confidence in young people:

Bella Holdaway and Olivia Beldham are cooking lunch on a $30 budget. Maxine says lunch needed to feed all the Youth Employability Programme (YEP) team. “They need to work as a team to agree on what to make and then all help prepare it.”
  • Make lunch on a $30 budget: delegate a leader where the team must go to the supermarket, then make lunch for everyone. Assigning “someone who doesn’t think they are confident enough to be a leader, can show them the strengths they never knew they had.”
  • Let young people take control: MYT decided to let their young people take over the lead of their Rainbow LGTB group. Under guidance, they get to decide and manage what activities and events take place. MYT also has a Marlborough Youth Trust Advisory Group, made up of 12-24-year-olds. “Any of the events we run, Springfest, Beachfest and Outdoor Movie, they learn to run events. They help set up and pack down, they run the door sales, they patrol on the night, they talk and help set up vendors, they help transport all equipment to the event. They are also the MC on the night where they run games and interact with the audience. It has been hugely successful!”
  • Support the young person’s passion: “One of our youth is really passionate about the environment and recycling. We supported him in getting a little site set up at MYSPACE for bread tags, old tooth brushes, batteries and bottle tops. The young man gets in touch for them to be emptied. We support with the venue to hold the bins. He is also a Mytag, so he is planning on setting up a beach clean-up so we will actively support this and help get it advertised and support with transport and anything else needed.”

For more information about MYT, visit: