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It’s Her Move

It’s Her Move

Two young women on a climbing wall

More young women are participating in physical activity in Auckland through co-creating with youth. 

The Her Move Activities Club (HMAC), run by Youthtown, began in the Waikato region in 2018. Following the success of the Waikato programme and thanks to Tū Manawa funding, HMAC was able to expand into three Auckland schools last year and will move into a further two this year.  

Designed to help young women at intermediate and college engage in more physical activity, Youthtown staff work alongside schools to identify participants who would benefit most from HMAC. 

Those students then get the chance to decide the range of activities they participate in such as boxing, rock climbing, golf, archery, renegade hockey and laser tag over a number of weeks.

Youthtown national activation lead Joanna Scott says she attributes much of the success to getting buy-in from the young women. 

“Allowing the girls to have their input has helped them to engage with Her Move. There may be a reason why they haven’t tried an activity, so having our support and a safe environment supports them in this space.” 

In West Auckland Middle School, St Dominic’s Catholic School and South Auckland Middle School, HMAC has provided 39 year 10 girls opportunities to take part in activities over 10 weeks. 

Tū Manawa funding through Auckland’s Aktive allowed two Youthtown staff to go into the the schools to build connections with the young women and girls and encourage them to participate. 

“The funding helped us to connect with them, provide kai to fuel them for the sessions and work alongside providers to cover their instructor costs,” says Joanna. 

And the impacts have been huge, she says. 

“The environments created have been welcoming, which has meant the girls have all felt comfortable participating and being themselves in everything they’ve been exposed to. 

“Ninety three percent want to, or would consider, signing up to the programme again, and we’ve got girls who have gained confidence to go on and play sports like netball.” 

Two young women climbing a rockwall

Feedback from the schools involved has been positive too. 

West Auckland Middle School’s Leigh Kenyon says activities were very new to some students, which created apprehension for some going into sessions, but it was awesome to see them smiling afterwards and wanting to go back again. 

Some participants have become more open to giving things a go in class time or in other activities the school offers, she says. 

Having a voice has also meant the girls have been excited to see their ideas brought to life, says Leigh, creating a real energy on the days those activities were held. 

St Dominic’s principal Anna Swann is grateful HMAC sparked such an interest among her students, some of whom needed a new outlook into their wellbeing through active recreation. 

“It’s been a great way to build relationships and trust with our rangatahi and it’s been a joy to witness how they’ve developed a new confidence with it.” 

For students, the sentiment is much the same.  

“It has brought me outside of my comfort zone, and to speak out about my feelings and emotions. It has also made me a more confident young woman,” says one student. 

Another said: “I got to meet a lot of girls I didn’t really talk to and that has made me more confident”. 

Youthtown is now looking forward to continuing HMAC in the three Auckland schools thanks to additional Tū Manawa funding and expanding it into Northcote College in term two and Birkenhead College in term three. 

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