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There are many people that contribute to making any town and community a success and Youthtown is no exception.

The highly valued people of Youthtown are made up of our participants, our staff, supporters and partners. Each of these groups has a vital part to play and, together, contribute to a healthy, strong community in itself.

Youthtown is a values based organisation and we live our four values internally as well as integrate these into all of our activities and programmes: Mastery, Belonging, Independence and Generosity. Our culture is also one of safety, which is essential in an organisation where young people need to be able to confidently stretch their abilities in order to grow and develop.

Our supporters are essential to the operating of Youthtown. We have those ‘behind the scenes’ of Youthtown, (such as our staff at the National Support Office and our Board), funding supporters and community supporters.

Want to support us too? Become A Host, Join Forces or Donate To Us

  • Youthtown Staff on Holiday Programme
  • Dodgeball with Youthtown Holiday Programme
  • Youthtown Sports Programme during school holidays
  • Youthtown Holiday Programme trip to Waiwera water slide
  • Outdoors After School Kayaking with staff
  • Youth Holiday Programme Bike trail
Our Staff

Our carefully screened and police vetted staff are passionate about developing young people through active engagement.

The staff that deliver our programmes are what makes Youthtown such a great place to be, and they reflect the energy of our Youthtown brand. They are experienced and appropriately trained in the activities they are responsible for including all aspects of child safety, Youthtown’s ‘Youth Development Principles’ and MSD (Ministry of Social Development), OSCAR approved behavioural management techniques and strategies.

Youthtown’s CEO (Paula Kearns) is supported by the CFO (Debbie Nelson), GM Strategic Growth (Ross Savage), GM Marketing (Annabel Mitchinson), GM People and Performance (Jannine Mullany), the Business Development Manager (Leigh Peters) and two Regional Operation Mangers (Nigel Kapa and Andy Pilbrow). Although this group, with their respective teams, are based at the National Support Office in Auckland, they take part in youth development and leadership training and periodically help with the delivery of programmes across New Zealand.

Want to join our team?

Have You Met?

Ben Nanasca’s journey at Youthtown started 27 years ago when he joined the Nelson Street team in 1984 as a camp leader…2,000 kids and 180 camps later and Ben has never looked back.

Ben immigrated to New Zealand from Europe in 1972 after competing at the Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, placing 42 out of 73 competitors in the giant slalom. He was also the first person to represent South East Asia at the Winter Olympics.

After graduating from teacher’s training college in 1983 Ben spent a year teaching at Dilworth School but his love of sport and the great outdoors was the main attraction for making the move across to Youthtown. Over the years Ben has worn a number of different hats at Youthtown including Sports Coach, Camp Leader, Holiday Programme Co-ordinator and After School Programme Co-ordinator. Today, part of delivering the Outdoor Programme involves Ben teaching Youthtown groups to ski at Snowplanet every Thursday night and running adventure camps. “There’s nothing more rewarding than taking a group away on camp and introducing them to the great outdoors,” says Ben.

Ben’s two daughters, now 23 and 18, also attended Youthtown when they were younger. Now, 20 years later, Karen is a member of the Australian Ballet Company based in Melbourne and Alana is in her final year at the Australian Ballet School.



Ben Nanasca
Youth Holiday Programme with Youthtown Christchurch
Our Board & Foundation

The Youthtown Board is led by President/Chair, Andree Atkinson since June 2016 and is supported by 7 other Board Members all of whom volunteer their time and expertise on a regular basis.

Maurice Chatfield and Ted Van Arkel are our joint Patrons.

The Youthtown Foundation Trust was established to create a fund for which capital or income Is to be used exclusively for the general purpose of Youthtown Inc.

See our Board Member profiles

Youthtown Sport Ambassador Tana Umaga

We are very pleased to have Tana Umaga as our Ambassador for our Sports Programme at Youthtown, which is delivered during school time and takes part in our holiday and after school programmes as well.

The former All Black Captain, and now Blues Coach, was a regular visitor to Youthtown in his youth and he has a passion for ensuring that Kiwis grow up to be physically literate and enjoy sport. READ MORE

Youthtown Historic Interschool basketball in gym
Alumni & Members

Since 1932, thousands of young people have been part of the Youthtown, youth development experience that remains our focus today.Like all family that leave home, we keep them up to date with our exciting progress and extend invites to be involved now and again

Alumni! Join our database and keep in touch with how Youthtown continues to empower today's young people.

Anyone can become a part of the Youthtown ‘family’ by applying annually to be a member. Our appointed Life Members (Michael White, Joy Tongue, Neil Prentice and Maurice Chatfield) have a history of contribution to Youthtown, and we continue to value their involvement.

Become a member of the Youthtown 'Family' - email : info@youthtown.org.nz