Meet mentors, prepare for tasks

Students from Marlborough Boys' and Girls' colleges who have been taking part in Project K this year finished the group phase of their adventure with one last adrenaline rush by rafting down the Buller River.

Three days later they were introduced to their mentors for the next 12 months with everyone given a chance to find out more about each other before being paired up.

"Now it's about taking what they have learned and using the improved confidence and skills they have in a more individual way," said Project K co-ordinator, Sonya Sutherland.

She said she had seen a great improvement among the students, especially in terms of being more confident and willing to step out of their comfort zones to try new things.

They will now, along with their mentors, develop two personal goals, an academic goal, and a fitness and health goal to work towards over the next year.

The 12 students, six boys and six girls aged 13 to 15, have already completed a three-week outdoor adventure, culminating in a four-day mountainbike ride from Nelson Lakes National Park. On October 18 the began their "urban adventure" with a community challenge race, learning about health and fitness, planning and carrying out a community project at the Marlborough SPCA, setting goals for the year and finally meeting their mentors.

"There is a really great vibe in the group and they have pulled together really well," said Foundation for Youth Development Marlborough regional manager, Kelvin Watt.

He and Sonya will have catch-up sessions with the teens and their mentors every three months, and more activities have been planned for them to take part in as a group during the year.

The first challenge for the youngsters will be to invite their mentors for dinner with their family and cook for them.

"We have an amazing group of mentors this year," Sonya said.

"Some have done it before but it is a new experience for most of them. I think they were just as nervous as the students before they met each other."

The teens and their mentors are required to meet at least twice a month to catch up, go for coffee, watch a movie or just hang out and chat about life.

This mentoring often results in strong friendships which continue beyond the 12 months and some of the teens go on to become mentors themselves after school, Kelvin said.

The Marlborough Express