Since 1997, Big Buddy Charitable Trust has been matching positive male mentors with boys aged 7 to 14 who need a positive male role model in their lives. We heard from one of the Mentors at Big Buddy Mentoring Trust about his recent experience with his mentee, Taraia:

This past autumn Taraia and I spent 6 days at a forest camp near the beach at Te Arai Point. This was one of the most rewarding periods I have experienced and an excellent way to get to know Taraia a little better and deepen the connection between us. We’ve been matched for 4 years now and Pathways was an opportunity to see into each other’s worlds a little better and plan how our relationship might look going forward.

The programme included a lot of experiential activities which as well as very informative and educational were a lot of fun. We laughed, joked, chatted with other young men and their mentors and fathers and learned a great deal from each other.

The experience included a number of rituals that mark the transition from boy to young man and were all celebrated appropriately.

The whole 6 days was held by the Pathways team and their support staff and volunteers from the Essentially Men Education Trust. The days and the activities passed seamlessly and although it was a very full programme, it was also very easy to manage my way through it. In the end I felt very content, full, valued, open, cared for, nurtured, heard and loved. I have a feeling that Taraia did as well.

This was such a fun and adventurous time I would thoroughly recommend it to other Big Buddies who are looking to not only grow their connections with their Little Buddies but also to grow themselves.

I believe levels of respect and understanding between Taraia and I, and also he and his mother have grown. I look forward to continued learning, growth, fun and connection in the relationship we have established. Hans Ottow (Big Buddy of 4 years)

And from Taraia…..

Pathways was the best camp I’ve ever been on in my life! I enjoyed everything we did and I’m fully planning on returning next year as a Fire Keeper (leader). Everyone there is kind and helpful and keen to make new friends. It doesn’t matter who you are, you will fit in.

You take your father or mentor – for example, your Big Buddy. In my case Hans, my Big Buddy, and I went to Pathways together and had the best time we have ever had together in all the 4 years we’ve known each other. I really recommend Pathways. Taraia (15)

Check out Big Buddy’s website and facebook page for more information.