No-one is ever too old to be a mentor

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Boys' day out ... Big brothers and their young friends enjoyed a boys' day out recently. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By DAVID HILL

Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Canterbury wants to hear from prospective big brothers to meet a need in the community, manager Ellie Le Gros says.

There are also opportunities for big sisters, but big brothers seem to be in short supply, she says.

“There seems to be a real social phobia among men about wanting to spend time with a child, but the men we do have who volunteer are outstanding and the difference they make in a young person’s life is astounding.

“We had a good run after lockdown and we’ve had some people coming in which was really great, but we have also lost a few and we would like some new mentors to come on board over the summer.”

Mentoring not only benefits the young people who need some extra support, as mentors can make lifelong friends, Ellie says.

A “boys’ day out” was held recently, in which mentors and their young friends got together to do “boys’ stuff” on a mentor’s lifestyle block. They went on quad bike rides, tried four-wheel driving and enjoyed go-karting. The day finished with a barbecue.

“The mentors don’t just get to spend time with the kids; they get to meet other men and make friends,” Ellie says.

The big sisters don’t miss out, as there is an annual “girls’ day out” for mentors and their young friends to enjoy activities. There are also get-togethers with all big-brother and big-sister matches.

Ellie and mentor co-ordinator Laura Biddlecombe are keen to hear from anyone aged 18 and over interested in being a mentor.

“No-one is ever too old and it can be rural people, business people, farmers, young people at university. It could be anyone and we always need both men and women,” Ellie says

“They don’t need any special hobbies, but it’s a good excuse if you like flying a kite or fishing or go-karting. It’s a good excuse to be a child again.

“A lot of children today don’t know how to do those little things we took for granted, like building dams or sandcastles.”

Contact Big Brothers Big Sisters of North Canterbury at (03) 3107004 or email northcanterbury@bbbs.nz.