Conin Bowker has been working with YMCA Auckland since 2013, and in March he stepped into the role of Raise Up Coordinator based at Massey Leisure Centre managed by YMCA. Prior to this appointment, he had helped with the Raise Up Crew for several years, particularly with their dance events. Conin is also the Gymnastics Coordinator for YMCA Auckland.
Born and raised in Ranui, Conin has been able to combine many of his interests into his different roles at YMCA Auckland. With a keen interest and natural talent for Parkour, free-running and gymnastics, he began by coordinating the Gymnastics programmes and free-running classes at Massey Leisure Centre.
Not only did Conin’s early days at the Massey YMCA Centre see him working as a gymnastics instructor, he was OSCAR leader in the holiday programmes as well. Alongside this, Conin worked in other roles, including Health and Safety Officer at YMCA, Kiwisport instructor and Website Developer.
This wasn’t Conin’s first foray into YMCA however. When he was a student at Massey High School, Conin was a part of the Massey Raise Up Crew. He was known as the ‘tech guy’ of the crew and had already begun teaching gymnastics. Right from then it’s been important for Conin to be involved in helping, coaching and teaching children and young people through gymnastics and holiday programmes.
Conin says that the best part of his role as Raise Up Coordinator is “that myself and the Raise Up crew get to do really cool things like running various events, attending workshops, playing games and doing activities when we meet and camp. It’s really cool being able to facilitate creating positive experiences and memories for these youth and myself as it’s a really good way to develop ones leadership and confidence.”
Conin relishes his role and the empowering environment YMCA Auckland provides. “I love the people that I work with, my colleagues, bosses, the Raise Up Crews, and our customers.” He says that YMCA Auckland has become his “second family” where everybody is really happy to help and support one another in any way that they can. “Everybody is a character and works together, like a well-oiled machine.”
Reflecting on Raise Up, Conin enjoys the events aspect of his role and enjoys building young people up to become leaders and helping them plan and run their own events. “There is a lot of freedom within the crews to do what they really want to do.” The challenging aspects as Raise Up Coordinator are “being able to pull out creativity in youth, but there are always ways around that. For me personally, the most challenging thing has been a changing working style – I’ve gone from being on the floor teaching the same thing to kids, to planning and running events and activities, networking, reporting and interacting with youth on a much deeper level than simply ‘learning how to cartwheel’ – which is cool!”