Y Central ensures no kids miss out on physical activity thanks to Tu Manawa Funding

Thanks to the Tū Manawa fund, kids at the Y Central Out of School Care (OSCAR) programmes have been trying out new sport, active recreation and play opportunities – at no extra cost to their families.

Across YMCA afterschool sessions in Palmerston North, Whanganui, Hutt Valley and the Wellington region, kids are trying new activations as part of the YMCA ‘Activate OSCAR’ programme. This includes boxing, taekwondo, basketball, futsal, hockey and pickleball, depending on the location – all are provided free as part of the standard charges paid by parents for After School Care.

The results have been outstanding: the children enjoy it, the parents appreciate it, and local clubs are gaining new members as kids fall in love with new sports.

“Kids are channelling their energy and refocusing their behaviour”

In Hutt Valley, a local taekwondo expert has been visiting two YMCA sites to provide sessions to afterschool programme attendees.

“Almost everyone participates, and they’re really having fun,” says Stacey Anthony, Y Kids Area Manager for the Hutt Valley. “There’s one boy I’m particularly proud of: he was sometimes quite challenging, but since taking up taekwondo, he’s got a whole different mindset. He’s stepped up to a leadership role and he’s learning skills that are helping him cope with school and improve his everyday interactions with people.”

Sarah Noyes, Centre Manager at Y-Kids Whanganui, has also noticed improvements among kids who have been involved in Activate OSCAR.

“We’ve been doing boxing and it’s benefitting all our kids – the littlies have never done anything like it, and to see their faces when they realise they can do it? You can’t put a price on that. It’s also been good for some of the older kids who can be a bit more challenging – it’s channelling their energy and refocusing their behaviour. It’s great for their self-esteem, because they improve quickly.”

A nearly 75% increase in attendance

Since launching Activate OSCAR in mid-2021, Y Kids Area Manager for Palmerston North Danielle Love says there’s been a significant increase in the number of kids wanting to attend.

“Our numbers were quite low before we started Activate OSCAR,” she says. “Since then, we’ve had an increase of almost 75% on some of our days. Some of these kids can’t do sports after school because their parents are too busy, so it’s great that we can offer it here. For example, Kung Fu Academy has been teaching martial arts and several kids have also joined the local club so they can learn even more.”

The Activate OSCAR programme was designed with equity in mind. To remove barriers such as cost, transport, and the lack of discretional time many parents have these days and bring these opportunities directly to our tamariki was the ultimate goal. The funding to make this happen was provided by Sport New Zealand’s Tū Manawa Active Aotearoa fund, which was launched in the wake of the pandemic to get Kiwis moving again. Activate OSCAR is hitting all the Tū Manawa targets: getting kids moving; sparking a passion for sport, active recreation & play; and breaking down barriers to participation making sure no child misses out.

Check out what’s on offer at your local Y OSCAR programme

Y’s OSCAR programmes are also hitting their overall targets, not only getting kids moving and keeping them safe and happy after school, but also offering additional learning like STEM robotics and tech classes. Feedback from parents has been outstanding, and Sarah says the team at Y Central is in a unique position to be able to give kids exactly what they need:

“We’re not constricted by school curriculums, so we can branch out and do things differently. We can offer things that schools don’t, or can’t, offer. There are so many benefits to our OSCAR programme, and it’s exhilarating to see the kids enjoying it so much.”

To find out more about a Y Central OSCAR programme near you, visit  www.ycentral.nz or drop into your local Y.


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