Whakatipu teen takes out top award at military camp

Nov 25, 2022

A local teen has taken on Burnham Military Camp and come out on top.

Fifteen-year-old Taurus Murray received a special award after completing a NZ Police-supported event at the army camp outside of Christchurch two weeks ago.

It was a collaboration with youth working not-for-profit Blue Light, that works to connect young people with the police in a positive way, encouraging the development of life and leadership skills as well as employment opportunities.

Blue Light’s southern life skills coordinator Nicola Patterson, who was at the camp, says Taurus was awarded the Overall Merit Award in recognition of "his consistent progress throughout the camp, his self-discipline, and support of others”.

The teen says he feels proud of his achievement.

Whakatipu teen Taurus Murray visited the International Antarctic Centre tin Christchurch, where he was able to learn about the history of military working dogs and interact with huskies.

I'd tried my best. Mum and Dad were also really happy, and proud."

He'd recommend the experience to other young people, he says.

"You learn how to clean up, follow instructions, and how to take care of yourself."

Taurus was selected for the opportunity by Queenstown Rotary, and the club's youth director Lee-Ann Lines says supporting young people is a big focus for them.

The Blue Light life skills programme has proven to have the most effective outcomes by providing lasting and positive impressions, and it gives participants the tools they need to better navigate their daily challenges, she says.

"Completing the programme gives them a sense of pride and they return home different kids with a new attitude and seemingly standing a bit taller.”

Blue Light works with the New Zealand Defence Force to deliver the camps, and it has for 12 years.

At the camp Taurus was put to work - there was the expectation he'd wake early, make his bed, and clean his room by 6am for morning inspection. Then there were adventure activities offering self-development, leadership opportunities and a challenge: the high wire course, mountain biking, and swimming. He also got to visit the International Antarctic Centre where, along with other activities, he got to meet the huskies and learn the history of military working dogs.

Up to 12 courses for 14 to 17 year olds are held each year in Auckland, in the central North Island and at Burnham.

Blue Light says its work seeks to empower often disadvantaged youth to reach their full potential, and in doing so can improve a young person's overall wellbeing and, in turn, the wellbeing of communities.

Blue Light says it achieves this through removing the barriers for disadvantaged youth to participate positively in the community, through both its national and locally-based programmes, activities, and events.

For more information about Blue Light's programmes visit www.bluelight.co.nz

Main image: NZ Police Canterbury rural area commander inspector Peter Cooper with Overall Merit Award winner Taurus Murray.

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