Skyla Still is at school at Ōtumoetai College, but she’s already volunteering her time to help the next generation of young rowers.

At 17, she’s been with the rowing club for four years, and enjoys her sport so much she’s one of a group of young rowers who turn up every Sunday afternoon to take younger rowers aged between about eight and 12 years to show them the ropes.

“It’s fun, and then we have our own training straight afterwards.”

The children are all learning to row, starting their sport on the Wairoa River, and many will go on to become more senior rowers. Most are pretty keen during their first eight weeks of learning the skills needed, and the volunteer older rowers enjoy seeing them progress.

“It’s really cool to meet them and I’m happy to help coach them because we can form bonds with them and will be rowing with them in the future. I got help from older rowers when I was learning.”

She says she can manage her Year 12 schoolwork on Sunday mornings so the coaching doesn’t interfere with her studies. Next year in Year 13, her last year at school, she’ll volunteer to coach.

Then it will be off to university, probably to study business in Wellington. But in the meantime Skyla is also volunteering at school. She’s a peer mentor to new students to help them adjust to school life.

And she intends to volunteer throughout her life because she enjoys it.