The Friends for Young Deaf (FYD) movement swept through New Zealand when Christoph Blum was appointed as Youth Coordinator in 1994 after training in England in the early 1990s. The theoretical components of leadership were put into practice on a real-time basis, merging with the Kiwi love of camps and outdoor living. Many of today’s young Deaf leaders participated in an FYD camp at some stage of their development.

  • Deaf Youth
  • Other

FYD – Building Leaders

21-23 February, 1997. FYD Leadership Part Two Training Weekend. Participants: Peter Barker, Allan Richardson, Simon Strawbridge, Kim Robinson, Ricki Pointon, Mark Huria, Perry Strawson, Robert Cameron, Sheryl Allison, Brent Ryder, Lynne Dean, Jennifer Brain, Tony Walton, Susan Hamilton.

8-10 September 1995. FYD Initiative Training at Snells Beach, Auckland.

The objective of FYD leadership training was to give confidence and skills to Deaf people so that they could develop to become competent Deaf leaders, taking the lead in their own communities.

This also gave Deaf people an opportunity to be positive role models for others, especially the younger generation of Deaf people. Historically Deaf people have often been marginalised within mainstream groups consisting of both Deaf and hearing people. The purpose of FYD was to give Deaf people the opportunity to work in partnership with hearing people and acquire a skill set that could be further used to benefit both their personal and professional lives.

FYD – Bringing People Together

New Zealand Association for the Deaf Friends for the Young Deaf team. (Source: Chris Blum)

The FYD team at work in the Deaf Aotearoa New Lynn office. Jennifer Brain, Damian Barry and Chris Blum. (Source: Chris Blum)

The Friends of Young Deaf (FYD) initiative was added to the services provided by the Deaf Association of New Zealand in 1997. With the support of Damian Barry from the UK, Chris Blum, Jennifer Brain, Elaine Sautia, Patrick Thompson and Helen Keane, the FYD courses were developed to offer skills-based leadership training to Deaf youths. In conjunction, FYD offered opportunities to connect for families with Deaf children through fun days, sports and family weekend camps.

FYD – Touching Many Lives

12-14 June 1998, FYD FYD Leadership Part Two Training Weekend at OPC National Park.

A total of 20 projects and 18 training courses were held all over New Zealand and approximately 1000 people – adults and children – were involved. This is an impressive scale for a community of 6-8000 Deaf people. FYD provided a opportunity for Deaf youth to learn how to focus their energies and talents, and many young Deaf leaders have been through FYD training at some stage of their development.

FYD – Legacy of Leadership

January 21-28, 1996 Summer Deaf Youth Camp in Otaki.

FYD was discontinued in 2001 due to lack of funding. The FYD legacy continued through the development of youth groups such as the Auckland Deaf Youth Group, along with the Wellington and Christchurch Youth Groups and Magnet.