The Lions Clubs of New Zealand old money campaign Heads Up for Kids organised the adventure of a life time for 60 students from low decile schools to attend the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre last week.
With funding assistance from Pub Charity the year 9 and 10 students of Naenae and Taita Colleges (in Wellington’s Hutt Valley) enjoyed a four-day outdoor adventure where they learned leadership and team building skills.
The combined venture was organised to reward good Kiwi kids. The students were selected for their positive attitude toward school and learning.
"We chose students who are potential leaders within the college, those who demonstrate a level of commitment to the school and on teacher recommendation," said Taita College deputy principal Clint Hawke.
Some of the students had never been out of the Hutt Valley and the geography value of the bus trip up through the central North Island was the start of a series of completely new experiences.
The students were put into mixed groups to overcome the normally unfriendly rivalry that exists between the two schools. PE teacher Hamish Muirhead from Naenae College said differences were quickly put aside and by the end of the course the big lessons were about what each student had to contribute to be part of a team, the art of compromise and respect for each other.
"It was great to see them all having fun and getting stuck in and working for each other," Mr Muirhead said.
Taita College teacher Paul McGillicuddy said he saw normally reserved students come out of their shell and others conquer their fears of being in confined spaces (caving) and heights (the high ropes) followed by the euphoria of achievement.
"They were all very willing and uncomplaining when asked to do things they would never do at home, like get up early, help with breakfast and make lunch for their group," Mr McGillicuddy said.
The students paid less than $50 in cash toward their $600 course fees funded by Lions, Heads Up for Kids and Pub Charity. They will be expected to work off an equivalent number of hours helping Lions Club members provide a community service and fundraise for next year's intake of students to attend an outdoor adventure and leadership course during 2012.
Heads Up for Kids, with help from Resene, Fastway Couriers and New World, raises funds through a collection of foreign currency and old New Zealand money which is redeemed for legal tender.
For more information on Heads Up for Kids please click here.
Photo above right: Teamwork is needed to get safely through the obstacle course.
Above centre: Apprenhensive looks at the thought of climbing the rock wall.
Above: Belaying a fellow student takes concentration. Photos by Iain Morrison