WPCA group of boys huddled together with helmets on

12 Sep Why it’s important to build resilience in youth

Resilience. It’s one word, but a quality that will change your life. But what is resilience?

I see resilience as being able to bounce back from unexpected changes and challenges. And it’s essential for our children and their future success. It’s vital that they build resilience from a young age.

My own experience on Ruapehu has made it crucial to understand resilience. I’ve found that when obstacles come at you from out of the blue, success or failure depends on only one thing. Are you used to pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone?

Understanding this drove me to develop the William Pike Challenge Award. Our kids need a bank of experiences to build their resilience. The Award helps prepare kids to succeed by growing their ability to bounce back.

WPCA kids near a river

Why do our kids need to build resilience?

Resilience is critical to our children because change is happening faster than ever. We need our kids to be confident in adapting and adjusting to new situations. Technological change means we can’t know what life will be like for our kids. All we can do is equip them as well as possible.

Even though we don’t know the future, it will bring challenges and tenacity can help. Our kids will face tricky social situations, exam pressure or other setbacks. Life’s challenges are inevitable. We need to set our kids up to succeed despite any adversity that comes their way.

A group of WPCA kids sitting on a rock

How can we build resilience?

Helping kids take on new experiences and master new skills grows resilience. The William Pike Challenge Award does precisely that.

New experiences define each pillar of the Award. The outdoor activities, community service and passion projects all involve trying new things. They do more too.

Community service can help build resilience through confidence and connectedness. It’s empowering to make a difference in other people’s lives. Awardees often create enduring networks when they get involved with helping the community. Taking on extra responsibilities also nurtures self-esteem and a sense of achievement.

WPCA kids fundraising for daffidol day

Empathy, communication and cooperation contribute to resilience. Our outdoor activities get kids using and improving these skills. Planning a trip, navigation and problem-solving as a group, are essential skills in the WPCA. Kids need to communicate, understand and work together in our outdoor activities. It’s no coincidence that the same skills help kids persevere in friendship or solving conflict.

Passion projects grow resilience by building feelings of competence and a sense of mastery. It takes some grit to try something new for 20 hours, and each WPCA child does it. They work out their strengths and push through their limitations. I am always blown away by what kids achieve with their passion projects. I know that they will go on to do even bigger and better things once they have a taste for it!

WPCA kids reading a map

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