In 2021 the Billy Graham Youth Foundation (BGYF) had a network of 6 academies across New Zealand. 2021 was the third and final year of an evaluation to help the Foundation and academies understand the impact they are having on young people and their host
communities, and identify where there are opportunities for improvement. “Storyboards” were used to gather feedback from the youngest academy classes and online surveys were used to collect feedback from the senior members, whanau and community partners. In 2019 the evaluation showed that young people said their academy helped them improve their fitness, confidence, behaviour and relationships. Family, whānau and community partner feedback also showed the academies contribute towards growth and development in their young people. The evaluation for 2020 reinforced the earlier findings and looked at the unique challenge of the COVID 19 pandemic and lockdowns. The third year’s findings (2021), reinforce our view that the academies delivery of the BGYF model delivers great outcomes for young people and that the model is being rolled out at new academies with fidelity. Since 2019 we have seen change as more girls join the academies, more women join the coaching staff and take leadership roles, and opportunities have been introduced like Development Camps for the girls. These changes are important and exciting. A concern is that in 2020 and 2021 we found the senior girls do not rate their psycho-social wellbeing as well as boys, and boys seem to get more help from the BGYF approach than girls (although girls also report their academy helps them – just not as much as boys). We anticipate the recent changes noted above will help address the gender gap.