Why Community Service and giving back is so important for young people to learn and do.

Map showing the Kermadec Islands

Community Service means a lot to me, it’s my way of giving back! In 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in some ‘extreme’ community service.

I was fortunate enough to be selected to travel to the Kermadec Islands on board the HMNZS Canterbury Naval vessel to participate in Community Service of a lifetime! This opportunity was through BLAKE’S expedition programme, where I was also a team leader for high school students.

The Kermadec Islands are 1,000 km northeast of New Zealand and are a significant conservation area for both New Zealand and the world. Rangitāhua is one of New Zealand’s largest marine reserves and identified as one of only four pristine marine environments on Earth, with a fully functioning marine ecosystem.

The HMNZS Canterbury Naval vessel was an extraordinary ship to live on. For those interested in some stats, she is 131m in length, has a 15000km range, and can carry 250 troops. Not to mention 4 helicopters!! 

I’m incredibly passionate about snorkelling and looking after our marine environments for future generations, so I saw this as a really important opportunity to give back, not only to my community but to the world. 

HMNZS Canterbury

Would you do Dolphin Surveys while surrounded by sharks? 

Underwater Camera Equipment

I teamed up with scientists and participated in snorkelling surveys, dolphin surveys and plankton collection. We used underwater cameras to observe fish species. By participating in this important Community Service we gathered all sorts of data to help scientists – like how many fish live in an area, whether they move around – or not and lots more. Sharks were everywhere!!

Obviously this was really extreme Community Service and not an option for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in some meaningful and fun Community Service near where you live. 

I enjoy giving back to my community on a regular basis. This year, I’ve started some new Community Service that I’ve never done before, called Peer Support Service. Myself and others provide support to those adapting to limb loss by guiding them through their journey, offering guidance and inspiration to live a full life. I had to do a full day training as a Peer Support Mentor to help people who have lost a limb. I get a huge amount of satisfaction when I support new amputees, such as Steve. Giving back to people in my community is great for my mental health, it makes me feel great and I get a huge amount of satisfaction from it.

Community service is all about making a positive difference in your community. If everyone gave a little of their time to help other people and places, the world would be a much better place. Community Service helps you to think beyond ourselves. It opens our minds, hearts and strengthens our relationships with people, communities and our precious land. 

Why is Community Service so important?

As part of the William Pike Challenge, students need to do 20 hours of Community Service. Special things happen when a young person learns to help others. They learn how to think beyond themselves. It opens their minds and their hearts and strengthens their relationships with people, communities and our precious land. Positive outcomes that are imperative for their future and ours.

The William Pike Challenge offers an introduction to Community Service for many young people who have not volunteered before. For positive youth development to occur, research suggests that young people need to make a contribution to their community. Some benefits of Community Service for students are:

  • Planning, preparation and organisational skills
  • Leadership, practical and personal skills
  • Self-belief and self-confidence
  • A positive and realistic self-image
  • An independent and self-motivating attitude
  • A sense of responsibility to others
  • A connection to the community and broader society
  • New or improved interests, skills and abilities and a willingness to try new things
  • New friendships and relationships with their peers, community members and older people
  • Regular commitment to service


So there you have it, it’s easy to see why giving back through Community Service is so important!

To learn more about the William Pike Challenge, visit our website here

Download a FREE sample programme by clicking here to learn what the William Pike Challenge could look like in your school. 

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Happy days

William on board HMNZS Canterbury