Learning to survive, thrive and save lives

Investing in the Future: Strengthening Emergency Management Through Youth Development Programs

A Case Study of Youth Search and Rescue in New Zealand

Steve Campbell – CEO YSAR Trust


Steve Campbell is the CEO of YSAR (Youth Search and Rescue) Trust, a prominent figure in the field of emergency management, and a dedicated advocate for youth development. Holding roles as Incident Controller, DVI Recovery, Lifelines Utilities Advisor, Victim Support Case Manager, Rescue Helicopter Winch Operator, Welfare Advisor, and Youth Development Startups, he holds a significant knowledge base and experience in the field of Emergency Management and Emergency Response in all facets within the 4R’s. With a master’s degree in ‘Technology Futures’ he takes a professional and objective view on the future sustainability of response capabilities. With over two decades of experience in emergency response and management, Steve has played a pivotal role in shaping the future of crisis response by empowering young individuals to become resilient and innovative emergency responders. Under his leadership, YSAR has flourished into a leading organization that specializes in fostering the skills and mindset required for effective emergency management. Steve’s unwavering commitment to youth development programs has led to the transformation of countless young lives and has significantly contributed to the preparedness and resilience of communities in New Zealand.

LinkedIn Profile: Steve Campbell’s LinkedIn


In today’s rapidly evolving world marked by diverse and complex threats, the field of emergency management (EM) faces unprecedented challenges. The effectiveness of EM operations is intricately tied to the capabilities, adaptability, and diversity of its workforce. This research paper seeks to shed light on the pivotal role played by long-term youth development programs, specifically tailored for the realm of emergency management. These programs have the potential to nurture a future workforce equipped with the essential skills, knowledge, and mindset required to excel in this dynamic profession. To exemplify the transformative potential of such initiatives, this study employs the Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR) program in New Zealand as a comprehensive case study. It showcases the remarkable achievements of YSAR and offers an in-depth analysis of its impact on youth participants and the broader emergency management landscape. This paper discusses the multifaceted contributions of youth, the significance of diversity in emergency management, the enduring influence of lifelong volunteers, the positive aspects of youth culture, and the efficacy of participatory learning environments. It concludes by emphasizing the necessity of adopting and expanding similar initiatives globally to enhance readiness and resilience in the face of increasingly intricate and unpredictable threats.

Read the report here 

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