Active in Parks: Youth Park Ambassadors Program

Sometimes the classroom isn’t the only environment for students to develop skills and confidence to move them forward in life. Sometimes we have to think outside the box to better equip kids with coping skills to battle challenges.

People and Parks Foundation believes connecting kids to nature and using it as a classroom can help boost young people’s self-esteem and mental health and helps them engage at school.

The Youth Ambassadors Program is a partnership with National Mental Youth Foundation headspace (Barwon) and local colleges in the Barwon region. This outdoor activity program works with Year 8 students identified as being at risk.

Over eight weeks, the students are involved in physically challenging activities every week including abseiling, mountain biking, orienteering, surfing and snorkelling, rock climbing and canoeing.

Participants in the pilot program have demonstrated an increase their self-esteem, with some students now having the confidence to seek out activities like rock climbing and canoeing in their spare time. The program has also enabled them to celebrate their own achievements and talk, share and grow with one another in a non-judgemental and reassuring environment.

People and Parks Foundation is very proud of this innovative program in connecting youth to the outdoors, providing them with a greater sense of self and helping to embed headspace Barwon’s services into schools as a fitting support agency.