Dan and Sioux Messinger, who run a ‘Cream of the Crop’ workshop in the US that aims to provide teenagers and adults with tools to look and feel confident, and are frequent visitors to Rarotonga.
They reached out to Daniel Fischer and Sieni Tiraa of the CINYC after there were three suicides in the space of two months, believing that it would be a good opportunity to introduce their leadership and confidence building course to youth here.
At the time, the CINYC has been thinking about project areas that focus on areas such as confidence building and leadership skills.
“When Sioux made contact, we were like ‘how did she know?’ It was perfect timing and we basically got working at it straight away,” Fisher said.
“We met in October last year, and she invited other youth groups like Rotoract and also a representative of the Internal Affairs youth, and she introduced her vision and the course.”
Over the course of the next two months, when the Messinger’s went back to the States, they started emailing back and forth about how the ‘Cream of the Crop Leaders’ Outstanding Youth’ workshop would work.
“Sieni worked closely with Sioux to go through the content of the course, to make sure that it’s run differently to how they do it in the US, so that it’s more culturally aware and more tailored to Cook Islands youth.”
Targeted at youths aged 15-22, not 14 as previously reported, the workshop is also supported by the Cook Islands Red Cross and Rotoract.
Although the workshop is not directly related to the Youth Parliament, which will be taking place the week after, Fisher believes it can act as a ‘guinea pig’ project.
“We’re interested to see the ripple effect that this has on the peers of these people who attend.”
“We hope they go back out to their group of friends, to their communities, and be able to teach the skills that they’ve learnt, or just by simply acting them out people will pick up on it and hopefully will have a domino effect,” Fisher explained.
The application deadline for the ‘Cream of the Crop Leaders’ Outstanding Youth’ workshop is March 30, 2018, with seats limited.
Cook Islands’ youth (or their parents) may apply for a special youth seat in this ‘Cream of the Crop Leaders’ Outstanding Youth’ workshop, which will be held in the Cook Islands’ Red Cross training room.
Applications can be downloaded (https://creamofthecropleaders.com/youth-empowerment-workshop), from the CINYC Facebook page or hard copies can be collected at the Cook Islands’ Red Cross from Tabitha. Because the workshop is donated, the typical fee has been waived, although participants must commit to fully attend both days of the workshop.
- Conor Leathley