Learning to survive, thrive and save lives



View a selection of testimonials from past students and parents of students. See how YSAR has a positive impact on not only the youths taking part, but their parents and families.

Being involved in YSAR has opened many doors to me. It helped me develop the confidence, discipline, strength and character that enables me to reach my goals. YSAR only built and strengthened my love for the outdoors and through the training and knowledge I have received through the programme, I am able to give it the respect it deserves. I have been pushed to my limits mentally physically and emotionally and have had the time of my life. I’ve achieve things I never imagined I could accomplish and the people you do it with are friends for a life time, I cannot recommend it to enough people.

Hi, I am an ex-Te Puke High School student now at University in Canterbury. While I was at high school I joined Youth Search and Rescue (YSAR), it was the best thing I did. Basically they train you in everything outdoors with a general theme of finding and saving lost people. You get heaps of qualifications as well but for me it was about the experience and the confidence it gave me with the outdoors to the extent that before joining I had never camped by myself and now at uni I'm trekking in the southern alps. It's heaps of fun, give it a go.

I am compelled to write you this letter to express our gratitude and constant awe of the work that you and the other leaders have undertaken in order to make YSAR Tauranga a fantastic learning and leadership environment for all of the young people who are lucky enough to be invited to participate. As you are aware, we have had two sons, Liam and Hamish go through the programme, Liam for four years and Hamish, this being his third year and due to commitments next year, may have to be his last. When the boys started at YSAR, we explored thoroughly the expectations of YSAR membership for ourselves and the boys and how this would impact on them. It looked fantastic and I am pleased to report that the whole experience for both of them has exceeded our expectations and theirs. It is our firm position that the boys have had a foundation, experiences and opportunities that they will take with them through their lives. They have made great friends, developed into young adults with dreams and aspirations largely guided by the emphatic belief that they will be able to use what they have learned at YSAR going forward both in their careers and to help others. (Hopefully with a lifelong commitment to LANDSAR) Liam and Hamish have always felt safe in every training activity that they have participated in and confident that every event was meticulously planned and prepared for. Scott and I have never felt the need to carry concern about any activity being undertaken. Both boys have been surrounded by great role models and felt respected and involved every step of the way. They have come away with training qualifications and experiences not common for boys their age. I do now and will always encourage other families to consider YSAR for their teenagers and take any opportunity to promote the benefits of it as we have experienced for Liam and Hamish. They are both confident young adults as a result. Steve, I just wanted to take this opportunity to share this with you and everyone else who has made such a great commitment to the success of the YSAR programme. It is inspired, innovative and provides great opportunities to positively guide our young people. Our grateful thanks to you and the team.

Growing up in Malaysia meant that a strong emphasis was put on my academic achievement. I struggled with this culture especially when we arrived in New Zealand. Sciences have always been a strength of mine and an area I excelled in. Despite this I never really saw a career for me in this field. I was passionate about the outdoors and loved getting out there to try new things; I wanted a career that I was this passionate about. My interpretation of a scientific job was the exact opposite of this. I perceived it as an 'office job', a 'boring' job that would stop me from doing the things I love. Joining Youth Search and Rescue provided me with the opportunity to see how 'real life' and science intermixed. It showed me the application of science in a field I was passionate about. I particularly noticed this in our outdoor first aid courses. The instructors were not only passionate about medicine but also the outdoors. Youth Search and Rescue has played a major role in my decision to become a New Zealand Defence Force medic. It showed me how my strength in biology could be applied within my passion for the outdoors.

YSAR helped me in many ways but a main aspect of that was in life skills, it taught me how to be a leader when others needed direction, my public speaking and confidence around others greatly increased through YSAR as these things are a must do in regular activity during camps, also it taught me responsibility for the actions I make. YSAR allowed me to experience a whole other side to life through the outdoors that I would never have had the chance to see otherwise.

Joining YSAR as a teenager was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It gave me the opportunity to gain not only a high level of competence in the New Zealand outdoors, but also confidence in myself and the courage to step outside of my comfort zone in pursuit of my goals. Being a member of YSAR, and subsequently Tauranga LandSAR, has brought me into contact with a wide range of people of all ages and areas of society. I have made life-long friends, and had the chance to do a huge range of awesome outdoor activities, all whilst giving back to the community through helping the lost and injured.

As a parent, I could see our son Simon grow in confidence. He became better at working with others in a group situation. He gained skills in the outdoors and the confidence to lead groups. He faced challenges of being alone in the bush and dealing with unexpected circumstances. The course encouraged him to think of others and to be aware of their safety as well as his own. It prepared him for going on to do a course in outdoor recreation leading to work in the outdoors, first in Camp America and then as a sea kayak guide in the South Island.

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