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Shining examples

The Blue Light charity works with Police to deliver programmes and activities for young people. Now in its 35th year, there are 68 branches throughout New Zealand. Many of our members give their time to the organisation. In the first of an occasional series on these unsung heroes, we catch up with youth aid officer Constable Rob Gormly.

Constable Rob Gormly, pictured, is a familiar face to many North Shore youth – coaching rugby or cricket, visiting schools, attending life skills camps and dreaming up Blue Light adventures and fundraisers.

As a Blue Light volunteer for the past five years, he’s been a role model for local youth, aiming to prevent negative involvement with police and focusing instead on empowering them to succeed.

Blue Light CEO Rod Bell says Rob is a great example of “real grassroots Blue Light action” and an ambassador for the organisation’s values. “He knows the needs of the youth in his area, has great ideas and solutions for local issues and then just gets on and does it.”

In November last year, Rob worked with North Harbour Blue Light to bring nine Year 9 and 10 boys from Birkenhead College to compete in touch rugby at the Blue Light U15 Games in Tauranga.

In December, he embarked on his “52 in 12 Chopper Challenge” with the aim of riding a 1970s-style chopper bike to 52 North Shore schools within 12 hours to promote the Helmets in the Holidays bike safety message. Not shy of a target, Rob managed to visit 58 schools in 14½ hours, spreading the bike safety message to more than 3000 children.

He’s currently organising a T20 charity cricket match as a Blue Light fundraiser on April 28. A celebrity-heavy team of former Black Caps and TV personalities will compete against top youth players from seven North Shore schools.

“I love my job and I love Blue Light and everything it stands for,” Rob says. “I’m constantly inspired by young Kiwis wanting to steer their own path in a positive direction and I feel privileged to be in a position to help them fulfil their dreams.”

He’s been a supporting officer at six Blue Light Life Skills Camps and seen the resulting positive changes. The camps, run in partnership with the Defence Force, focus on leadership training, practical life skills, teamwork, leaderless tasks and fostering respect and self-confidence. Participants can also earn Level 1 and 2 NCEA credits, an attractive feature for those who might be struggling academically.

A recent camp in Whangaparaoa included visits from the local armed offenders squad and police dog unit, a ride on a navy speed boat and exploring WWII tunnels in the dark.

Rob says taking part in the camps is a highlight, as well as running the BLAST (Blue Light Alternative Strategies for Teenagers) programmes at local high schools.

This year, he has also committed to raising $10,000 for the charity by mid-2019 as part of a TV production that will screen later this year. “The money raised goes directly into funding and organising youth programmes and events with a goal of positively empowering the youth of New Zealand.”

Rob lives on the North Shore with his wife, Sarah, and three children.

Check out Rob’s Blue Light Adventure page on Facebook.

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