When COVID-19 forced the suspension of face-to-face St John NT volunteer training, the young people involved in the youth development programs were in limbo until appropriate social distancing could be accommodated.
The St John NT Youth program provides first aid and leadership skill development for Territorians aged 8 - 25 years. The program is made up of Juniors (8 - 11 years of age), Youth (12 – 17 years) and Youth Leaders (18 - 25 years).
To ensure the young members remained engaged, the volunteer team worked hard to provide options to allow divisional meetings continue through the uncertainty of the months ahead.
The team created an online solution, knowing how keen the members were to continue to connect with their peers and continue learning lifesaving skills. Virtual sessions were born, where members could log on from home via their laptop, iPad or phone and maintain the skills they had been learning.
Every cloud has a silver lining – the online connection model worked so well with the youth cohort of Palmerston, it was decided to become a permanent fixture for training nights, with the introduction of a combined face-to-face and online engagement model.
But alas! How was the division to run partially online training without any equipment? Enter City of Palmerston!
Recognising the valuable role St John NT volunteers play in the Palmerston community, the City of Palmerston Council awarded a sponsorship payment of $11,599 to the Palmerston Youth and Adult Divisions to purchase the necessary equipment.
The generous sponsorship has allowed for the purchase of a number of laptops, desktop computers and ten iPads to help facilitate the combined training model. Not only this, but the equipment also provides a back-up option should the Division have to return to distanced training due to COVID-19.
For now, the Youth will use the iPads to complete quizzes and research learnings on training nights, while the adult divisional members and Superintendents will be able to facilitate training and manage divisional documentation using the laptops and desktop computers provided.
The digital options also provide the ability to engage with other young people and facilitate connection with other Youth divisions across the Territory.
“We are so grateful for the opportunities this sponsorship will provide for the Palmerston Divisions.” Acting Director of Volunteering, Events and Community Education Maria Rooney said.
“It gives us new and exciting ways to engage members and helps us to keep moving forward in the development of our Youth program.”