Billy Graham Youth Foundation

The Billy Graham Youth Foundation (BGYF) was created to establish and support boxing academies in communities around New Zealand, that are based off the original Naenae Boxing Academy model (est. 2006). Our national vision is ‘Champion young people contributing to their communities’. BGYF's mission is to ‘Support BGYF Academies to empower young people and whanau, and to uphold the integrity of the BGYF spirit’. BGYF supports each BGYF Academy to create positive environments, build strong relationships, and support the holistic development of every young person who walks through their doors. The original Naenae academy was set up to provide safe spaces and build relationships with local young people, many of whom fall in to at-risk categories.

Issues for our young people in Te Awamutu (Waikato region of North Island) include: Mental Health is a big concern for our young people. Local people complain that there is a lack of local services to get good support. There are plenty of activities for children but a recognised gap of things to do in the area for teens (hence the academy being so popular).
The Billy Graham Youth Foundation (BGYF) model is centred around creating positive environments that young people are firstly attracted to and which ultimately support their holistic development. In order to establish these positive environments our coaches employ the 8 values found in the BGYF Passport to Success. This value base ensures that there is consistency across BGYF, and that the practices employed stem from a solid foundation. The key component of the BGYF model is the positive peer mentoring the takes place throughout every class. Our coaches aim to create the environments through which young people can thrive, however it is the young people themselves who are encouraged to become the agents of change. We often say that our job is not to put out fires, but rather create fire engines. BGYF seek to equip a generation of young people with the desire and the tools to be a positive influence in the lives of those around them. In this way BGYF is able to create change far beyond the walls of our academies. BGYF has developed the Billy Graham Youth Foundation Champions programme, designed to allow every young person to progress throughout a structured pathway over a long-term engagement with an academy. As young people follow the Champions programme they are able to learn new skills in a structured environment, achieve quantifiable success, and become an embedded part of the community that exists in each academy.
In 2019, research conducted by Point and Associates identified that the longer an individual was involved with an academy the more meaningful their engagement was with BGYF. The Champions programme is designed to engage any individual from 9 years of age and take them on a 10 year journey. Through this way BGYF is able to remain as a constant through an individual's formative years. Key components of the Champions Programme:
  • The Champions programme allows every individual to feel that they belong, to feel safe and to feel loved. This is the foundation from which all future development will come.
  • The Champions programme encourages young people to learn how to develop positive relationships with the diverse individuals who they train with in each academy. We believe that if change is going to take place in our communities that those from diverse backgrounds must have a space where they can come together and share common ground. This means decreasing the distance between those with power and those without, those with resource and those who have little. Within our academies this social connectedness takes place from the age of nine, as from an individual’s first day they will come into contact with those whose backgrounds vary greatly.
  • The BGYF model creates the realisation that individuals should be thinking of the needs of those around them rather than just themselves. BGYF’s desire is for this realisation to carry well beyond the academy, and into lives of those connected with our members. The Champions programme supports this development in a number of ways, such as young people being expected to participate in community development throughout the year, or providing senior members with the skills and knowledge to support their junior counterparts through voluntary coaching.

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