MEET THE CORE TEAM
Once known as ‘Scary Mary’ for her daredevil accomplishments on a dirt bike, Mary Wanhill was forced into a change of direction after a career-ending injury in 2009. Since then, Mary has pursued a life of impacting young people as the founder of Youth Encounter Ministries Trust. She has a passion to see youth be all that they can be as they navigate through life’s challenges. Click here to see more about Mary's backstory.
Mary is both CEO and Youth Co-Ordinator at Youth Encounter. Using her skills in extreme sporting activities as a tool alongside a counselling diploma, Mary brings her insights and leadership to effectively engage with young people, creating powerful connections that have created a vibrant community of young people.
Tracey joined our team in October 2016 as our Operations Manager, where she is responsible for the smooth running of the day-to-day operations as well as helping us to grow our services with her focus on sustainable funding to help achieve our vision and mission. Tracey is passionate about making a difference in the lives of our youth and believes strongly in giving them opportunities to grow and develop into the incredible young people their potential reveals.
Joel has been hugely involved with Youth Encounter from its inception. With the acquisition of our Home Base property mid-2021, Joel has now come on permanent staff as the property manager. With his experience and knowledge Joel is also able to cover many other roles in our programs as required from Emergency care to Activity Instructor.
Joel loves facilitating growth in all parts of organisation whether it be the property or people – youth and staff.
Maree joined the team in October 2019 as our part-time Funding Co-Ordinator. She has a background in banking, admin and TESOL teaching.
Maree is married to Ilkka and they have three adult children and a son-in-law who have all participated in Encounter Camps and Ride Days over the years.
"I love being involved in an organisation that is making a positive difference in the lives of our young people."
Pare joined the team in September 2020 as a youth mentor. She is a volunteer firefighter and has a background in teaching.
Pare says, "One of my strengths is 'fun'. Youth Encounter shares an awesome atmosphere which allows our youth to have fun while believing in their true value. I am super-excited to connect and build relationships with our young people."
Ethan first got involved in Youth Encounter when he attended his first camp in 2016 at 14 years old. He is now a valued member of our team happy to competently cover a range of roles as required including: mentoring, instructing, running activities, equipment and whatever else Mary asks him to do. :-)
Ethan says that Youth Encounter allows him to journey with youth and see changes and growth in their lives as well as having fun with awesome people!
Joel helps out in our all important Equipment area cleaning, servicing, checking and repairing any gear in use. He is also one of our mentors and an instructor for new dirt bike riders. Joel says "Encounter supported me all through youth, helping me grow up in a positive environment while pushing me to reach my fullest potential and having heaps of fun along the way.
Shaun joined the Youth Encounter team in November 2021 and is one of our youth mentors. He is also ever ready to put his hand to all sorts of practical jobs around the Home Base and transporting Therapy clients as required.
When he and his family were preparing to move to the BOP Shaun came across Youth Encounter in a job search. He says, “I saw a refreshing approach to working with at-risk youth and was quickly sold on wanting to contribute to their mahi.”
Powhiri joined the Youth Encounter team in December 2020 as a Youth Mentor. Powhiri has a background as a professional rugby league player. He has more recently worked as a youth mentor in the Tauranga area.
His introduction to Encounter was when Powhiri had a couple of young mentees he was working with, complete a Dirt Bike Therapy course with Mary. Looking back on his own life, Powhiri realises the positive impact significant coaches and mentors had on his life to bring him to the place he is today and desires to do the same for other rangatahi.
MEET THE GOVERNANCE TEAM
Youth Encounter Governance includes nine members. Five are board of trustees (Bill, Paul, Greg Royce & Andrew) and four act as advisors to this board of trustees. This includes a secretary and treasurer (Fiona & Jo) and also the founders of the organisation (Joel and Mary Wanhill).
Bill Tissingh - Chairperson
Bill is married to Ngaire and they have seven daughters, four sons, a whaangai daughter and (at last count) 18 grandchildren. He has been involved as a primary principal for seven years; a director of a child and family support service for six years and has served on numerous governance boards including the local college for four terms, three as chair, a local Christian camp for nearly 40 years - mostly as chair, and a local Christian primary school which he led the establishment of. He also serves on the national board of Christian Camping NZ.
Bill has a wide range of community involvement as is often associated with being the pastor of a Christian church in a rural community. He has a lifetime interest in young people and seeing them thrive through the challenges of life.
Paul is currently the General Manager of People & Strategy at Bay Gold LTD. Paul has been involved at different levels from orchard work to strategic direction and brings a wide range of skills and experience to the YEMT team. His interest and passion is in organisational growth and sustainability with a focus towards HR and Health and Safety governance. He also enjoys time with his wife, and a growing family of grandchildren at the beach and adventuring in the outdoors. Paul has been part of a number of different boards over the past 10 years, three of which were NFP. He is also a member of the Institute of Directors in NZ and has completed the one-week directors course run by the IOD.
Andrew & Fiona Clements
Andrew is one of the directors at Grayson Clements Lawyers in Hamilton, and a Notary Public. His qualifications are LL.B/BA & TEP. Andrew acts for enterprise, institutional and private wealth clients both domestically and internationally. His focus includes structural design, trusts and succession. Andrew’s work includes setting and implementing structural strategies to allow enterprise expansion and succession, multigenerational succession, and philanthropic initiatives. He seeks to balance work life with family life with his lovely wife, Fiona, four adult children (plus in-laws) and three grandchildren. He is in touch with today’s youth culture and has a passion to see them reach their full potential in life.
Royce is a past manager at Tui Ridge Park and Lakes Ranch Christian Camps. College principal – qualified teacher. Royce is currently the principal at Paeroa Christian School and lead teacher of the local 10-school Kahui Ako group. He is married and has five children. His great leadership qualities are bringing fresh insights to Youth Encounter.
Greg was sharemilking on a dairy farm at Pukehina WBOP for many years. However, he is now the owner/operator of a kiwifruit orchard in Welcome Bay on the outskirts of Tauranga. Greg is married to Heather and they have three adult children, two daughters-in-law and three grandchildren. Greg has put his hands to many practical projects and enjoys the adventure of outdoor work and hobbies. Greg is involved in Youth Encounter at an operational level as well as governance. He is an open and willing learner, enjoys engaging in new challenges and loves getting alongside youth who bring their challenges and help guide them to find a better way forward in their lives.
Jo Watson - Treasurer
Jo is a qualified accountant and currently works for Deloitte New Zealand in Hamilton. She has been involved in overseas and local mission work with children and young people and has a heart to see change but an understanding of what it takes behind the scenes. Jo believes she has a calling to use her accounting skills in the not-for-profit sector and is growing in her development of this calling.