YHA New Zealand are now taking applications for their annual youth personal development award. The Cora Wilding Award comprises a subsidy of up to $5,000 toward the cost of participation in a personal development training course or project that will benefit both the recipient and their community. Applications are open 12th May – 30th June 2017.

The award reinforces YHA New Zealand’s founding mission to motivate and inspire young people to pursue personal development by exploring New Zealand and the outdoors. The award has been presented annually for over twenty years, demonstrating the organisation’s commitment to youth development.

Photo by Emma Taggart.

Past awards have been granted for attending The Hague International Model United Nations (THIMUN), a Youth Development Voyage on the Spirit of New Zealand, first aid courses, and more. Hannah Overbye, who won the award in 2016, participated in Outward Bound’s “Mind, Body, Soul” course. She says she learned the importance of mental strength in overcoming the challenges of the programme.

“I was able to do things I never thought I would or could; sail, white water kayak, run 21km, high ropes, swim in the sea every morning, live with 14 other strangers,” says Hannah. “There were so many challenges that I was supported to face and complete.”

“I can bring back my skills for my Prefect role at school and I’m sure they will help me to lead all throughout life,” Hannah says. “But it also helped me to become a more compassionate person who’s accepting of everyone and their differences. It was a huge learning experience for 21 days and I’m still learning things now. Outward Bound sparked a curiosity in me about the environment … so I may one day [study] environmental science thanks to [YHA New Zealand’s] help.”

Photo of Hannah taken by Emma Taggart.

With an emphasis on serving the community, the Awards Committee members evaluate applications on three factors: how the course will help the applicant make a difference in their community; how well the application aligns with YHA New Zealand’s charitable aims and objects; and if the applicant could achieve their goal without this funding.

YHA New Zealand’s Manager, Corporate Services, Maureen McCloy, says, “This award is a part of YHA’s heritage and, over the years, we’ve witnessed these grants make a real difference in the lives of the awardees. We’re thrilled to play a part in their personal development and we look forward to presenting the Cora Wilding Memorial Award again in 2017.”

The award was established to perpetuate the memory of Cora Wilding, who founded YHA New Zealand in 1932. The award is granted to a maximum of two individuals in any year.

Read more about the award and how to apply here.

Photo by Emma Taggart.

The Youth Hostels Association of New Zealand, (YHA New Zealand) is a not-for-profit association that was established in 1932 in Canterbury. With a network of over 40 hostels in both islands, YHA New Zealand provides high quality budget accommodation to New Zealanders and international travellers. YHA New Zealand is a committed advocate of sustainable practices. For more information please visit their website.


For more travel tips and stories, check out our Student Travel section, brought to you by YHA!