Next week, more than 800 youth workers, doctors, nurses and researchers descend on Wellington for INVOLVE, the national conference for youth health and development in Aotearoa. The 2021 event is a reunion for the sector who have not met since before COVID.

“There is always something special about being able to connect in person but this year it feels even more important. We are so looking forward to sharing the life, learning, love and laughter of INVOLVE 2021 which will help to steer our waka as we sail together through new seas.” says Ria Schroder of the Collaborative Trust, who along with Ara Taiohi, the NZ Youth Mentoring Network and SYHPANZ produce INVOLVE.

The three-day conference provides extensive professional development and networking opportunities for people working with young people.

“INVOLVE is for all youth practitioners whether you are a youth worker, mentor, working in youth health, researcher or anyone that supports young people – we all need to connect and strengthen our practice.” says Jane Zintl, Executive Officer of Ara Taiohi.

The 2021 conference has a particular focus on providing professional development and support for operating in a post-COVID environment.

“As young people face the new challenges that COVID has brought it is even more important for us to learn from each other, gain new skills, so that we can recognise the mana and enhance the hauora of rangatahi.” Michael Brenndorfer, SYHPANZ.

Four curated Keynote sessions include youth participation, youth health, and development intersecting with research, and future-making for rangatahi Māori.

“The INVOLVE 2021 conference is a great opportunity for mentors to update and to gain a deeper understanding of health and well-being issues that taiohi are experiencing in today’s world.” Joy Eaton, NZ Youth Mentoring Network.

INVOLVE runs from 9-11 August at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.