Thursday, December 13, 2012

Boot camps---will they ever work?

The National Party made much of its policy re ‘boot camps’ for young people who have gone seriously off the rails. The figures coming out today about the successor lack of it are up for scrutiny. Depending which way you look at it you will make up your own mind about the efficacy of them.
Some say 50% of the kids fail and go back to their old ways. Another way of looking at those figures is to say that 50% of the kids change and go on to better themselves. OK, perhaps we should look at what works and what makes kids go back to failure.
Firstly, make the courses longer and have a much bigger element of ‘training’ for work, which would include firms taking  on people to learn a trade or some other form of work. There is enough goodwill out there from small and medium sized firms to make this work. Add a sweetener in the form of a ‘subsidy’ and there will be a bigger uptake.
I know that some of these kids in boot camps come from families that do not have a healthy base in which to learn good behaviours and there may be an economic deficit. Even these kids can change, so long as they do not return them to live in the same old patterns. Another way of putting that is to say---‘if you return a person to muddy waters; well you know the rest. To break a pattern of poor school attendance, criminal behaviours and drug and alcohol abuse, young offenders must not return to the world they came from. Making the courses longer and creating new successful links will lead to a much higher success rate.
It may be too late for many of the parents of these young people, so we need to concentrate on the young. If for some reason that works, and the parents decide to address their own issues, then well and good. Putting the resources into people who want to change their lives is obviously the best way to go. An element of compulsion to partake in the schemes is necessary too.
Listening to talk back radio today was frustrating. The same old clich├ęs about sticking the kids into the army came out loud and strong. I say, why the hell should we lumber the army with these kids, until that is the kids have changed. Let’s face it, the army is not resourced nor has the skills to make real changes in individuals who refuse to change. What are they going to do—lock them up and put them in chain gangs?
OK, back to reality. Put the resources in to make the ‘boot camps work. That entails the right level of support, including counselling, work experience and working with the families. Put all that into the schemes and we will see the figures for success go up and we will all be the winners. Including all young people in society is far better than further marginalizing them.

Samoa, our thoughts are with you.

At a time of the year that should be filled with joy, Samoa has been hit by a cruel cyclone. I know you will pick yourself up Samoa, but Xmas will be hard for you. Rest assured that lots of New Zealanders, not just of Samoan origin, but people generally will send a helping hand. Go well our  PACIFIC BROTHERS AND SISTERS..

Fanally, South Africa! Welcome.

I wish my new reader(s) from South Africa. Now, I have all the old Commonwealth Nations reading my blogs. That feels good. I wish you all a Merryt Xmas in the rainbow nation. Make sure you look after our cricket team and don't thrash them too hard.

Tamati---we will miss you on TV--Thanks from all of us!

About 5 years ago, a young man appeared on our TV screens in NZ. His name? ----Tamati Coffey. Initially he was a bit shy but then he took control and his presence has warmed the hearts of so many New Zealanders. Very few people would have a hard word for this man. He started as a ‘weather man’ but it became pretty obvious that he has a special ‘presence;’ one that destined him to take a far wider role in the media.
Now, he pops up everywhere: on chat shows, New Zealand’s got Talent, just to name two. He is so loved by the kids if New Zealand. That infectious, cheeky smile; that compassion, all endear him to us. His growing confidence has taken him to a position where he must surely be looking at other ‘mountains to conquer.’
Tamati is going to the UK with his partner; his intentions generally unknown, but don’t be surprised if the land of his Partner, Tim, snap him up. He has stated that he is ‘tiered.’ No wonder. For the last five years he has been getting up at 3am and that must eventually takes its toll. He states that he wants to experience normality and who can blame him for that? I bet he will miss his dogs, but perhaps he is taking them.
Tamati has given something else to New Zealand. He is openly gay and was one of the first to get ‘legally married.’ Tamati’s openness and honesty have been a shining example to so many young (and not so young) New Zealanders to be themselves. At a time when there are still narrow minded people who put down those who may be different, Tamati has given hope that things don’t have to be like they have always been. For that, Tamati we thank you.
Please don’t be a stranger to us and know that you are in the hearts of New Zealanders.
Tamati---We will miss you!
Kia kaha, Tamati and Tim. Much love from all of us.