Turning Kids Lives Around Through Boxing

Photograph of the BOP Youth Development Trust boxing team and coach

New to the Bay of Plenty and strongly supported by the NZ Police and community organisations, the BOP Youth Development Trust aims to inspire youths to believe in themselves and achieve dreams they never thought possible.

It plans to do this by establishing the Tauranga Boxing Academy. The key to engaging the youth, and what brings them through the door is the boxing.

The Tauranga Boxing Academy’s new gym will be opening at Number 3 The Strand later in 2018.

The Academy has high standards and discipline and is focused more on self-defence and staying safe rather than getting into trouble.

The programme is for young people aged 9 to 18 years who will attend 2-3 times a week and will likely stay engaged for between 4 and 8 years.

The Academy provides a safe space for meaningful social interactions between youth, positive role models through mentors and a place to learn how to enact the values of:

• Respect

• Responsibility

• Compassion

• Consideration

• Kindness

• Duty

• Obedience

• Honesty and Truthfulness

An evaluation of the Naenae Boxing Academy run by Billy Graham (on which this programme is based), found it to be highly effective at making positive changes in these youths’ lives.

It won’t surprise you to know that Duncan is a pseudonym. I’m an amateur writer, my professional life is spent within the buoyant local building industry.

Speaking from experience, the biggest problem we have is finding decent young people who display an understanding of the above-listed values.

In 2016 alone, I went through four potential apprentices. Every one of them was unable to consistently show up to work on time and do a day’s work. Building is one industry that will be clambering to get first dibs on the products of this awesome initiative. Henry can teach them to box and we can teach them which end of the hammer to hold.

The programme reaches beyond the young person to include their whānau, and further afield, to connecting with businesses for employment opportunities as they get older. Young people are referred by Social Workers, Police and whānau – but they all must want to be there. I’m excited.

If you would like to connect with the BOP Youth Development Trust, please contact the Chair, Craig Nees on 029 244 4086.

By a.k.a. Duncan McCallum Esq. Bay Waka Sport Reporter