On 2 September 2009 HWC JYT was awarded the Supreme winner of the TrustPower Palmerston North Community Awards.

Get ready to hear about a group that knows the true meaning of the word community and bringing people together.

The Highbury Whanau Centre Junior Youth Touch aims to use touch as a medium to teach children and youth, social responsibility as well as THREAD values which stands for Trust, Honesty, Respect, Excellence, Attitude and Development.

The Touch competition is run at Monrad Park on Friday nights for seven months during the summer season. Each night teams get two games, and schools from all over Palmerston North have entered in the competition.

The volunteers set up fields, the car park, run the BBQ, offer First Aid, take gate donations, set out rubbish bins, check in teams, time-keep, make announcements, they referee games, do the draws, write up score cards, re-match games, make sure the park is clean at the end of each night and take coaching sessions in the gym for teams who have a bye round. Volunteers also run coaching workshops and referees courses.

Volunteers organize sign-ups for representative teams as well as training and transport. For the first time this year, the Junior Youth Touch Coaching Coordinator organised a very successful local Touch Academy. At this academy, mentors and coaches who in the past have been NZ Touch Representatives taught the volunteer coaches and players new skills.

Over the 2008/09 summer, there were 92 teams, equating to 1,000 players in the competition. This is a huge amount of young people from all over Palmerston North, drawn together, working together. The competition, operating at full capacity has also had to put teams on a waiting list due to field and volunteer availability.

The majority of the volunteer referees aged between 13 and 17 and are too old to play in the competition, but use their valuable skills to help younger players. The day coordinators and referee coordinators all played in the competition when they were younger and have now been up-skilled to take on more responsibility.

The Highbury Whanau Centre Junior Youth Touch fundraises and seeks sponsorship to keep the fees as low as possible for all players. In the last year they have sent eight teams to the Regional Elite Tournament and sent 10 teams to the Regional Fairplay Tournament giving players a representative experience.

The competition caters for teams from all over the Manawatu in a low socio-economic area, where theres is a renewed sense of pride. They play on a Friday night to keep children off the street and give them something useful to be a part of. They run the competition as a mixed competition with boys and girls to teach them how to work together and value each other.

The philosophy behind the touch tournament is that Touch done with class will enhance the overall wellbeing of children, youth and their families. We believe that is exactly what these volunteers are doing; enhancing children's well-being which is impacting many other areas of their life and their families lives in a positive way. This Award is for all those volunteers young and older who dedicate their time to make sure that this tournament happens, it is a whole community event, and we believe you are truly deserving of tonights Supreme Award. Congratulations!

From Teresa and the team at Trust Power.