“For a group of neuro-diverse students, the biggest challenge can be getting the opportunity to take part in outdoor adventures.” After five years in the making, nine neuro-diverse students from Wellington East Girls’ College head off for their biggest adventure yet – a six-day ski and snowshoeing trip to the Cardrona Valley. Unit Leader, Leonie King, shines light on the students’ barriers to entry and the preparation required to complete their Gold DOE's Hillary Award.
Youth Award Grant
No ride, no problem. FMC Youth Award Grant recipient, Tara Isaacs, organises her own DOE Gold Qualifier from the ground up. Starting without a team, a shadower or a ride, she compiles a crew and all the components necessary to cross off one of her 'bucket list tramps' – the Abel Tasman Coastal Walk.
'No growth occurs when comfortable' becomes the guiding mantra for five Youth Award Grant recipients. Flexibility and persistence prove essential during their DOE Gold Qualifying Journey, as they respond to ill trampers and an emergency helicopter rescue along the Pinnacles.
For their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Qualifying Journey, Emiliana and her team opt for an alternative mode of backcountry travel – kayaking. Dubbed the Kayak Kapers, this team of twenty-four students (over half of whom had never kayaked) bravely took up their paddles and developed new skills during a multi-day exploration of the Marlborough Sounds.
Over the April school holidays, six students set off to complete their Silver Duke of Edinburgh Qualifying Adventurous Journey in Tongariro National Park. Demonstrating excellent planning for their tramp, the group successfully navigates all the challenges thrown their way and completes a trip of a lifetime.
"Journey – a long and often difficult process of personal change and development." For these four FMC Youth Award Grant recipients, they draw upon their strengths and honestly address their shortcomings to come together as a team to support one another, as well as look after fellow trampers on the Tongariro Crossing Northern Circuit.
Examining their Gold qualifying tramp through the lens of Te Whare Tapa Whā (the four dimensions of wellbeing), Alicia and Sophie reflect on the significant challenges they faced on the Rees-Dart Track and what strategies helped encourage them to continue.
Freezing temperatures bring unexpected challenges to a group of Duke of Edinburgh Silver qualifiers on the Ruahines. But through it all, they embrace the magic of a winter wonderland tramp surrounded by snow and icicles and demonstrate what is to be a good hut steward.
A second attempt and an alternative route pays off for these four Duke of Edinburgh qualifiers. After a flooded track and health problems forces the group to turn back on their first try, they persevere and successfully complete their next tramp with lots of fun and skill building along the way.
Winter tramping and a roughly polled track presents these FMC Youth Award Grant recipients with new challenges, as they complete their Duke of Edinburgh Gold tramp along the Two Thumbs range from Mesopotamia to Tekapo in four days.
As a Youth Award Grant recipient, Harri Pickett embarks on a snowy Kepler Track and faces the tough decision to turn around when conditions become unsafe.
Despite high river levels cancelling their canoeing trip, this adventurous group of DOE Gold qualifiers bring a whole new meaning to 'carpe diem.' With their extra time, they tackle whitewater rafting, rock climbing and canyoning, even climbing Mount Ruapehu with ice axes.
What’s the hardest part of any tramp? A return to civilization. The Glen Eden Venturers tackle over 80km along the Rees Dart Track and while feeling reluctant to rejoin society, they become inspired to take their knowledge and train young scouts in backcountry skills.
Well known for being one of the muddiest tramps, Brianna Loan learns firsthand the frustration (and fun) of being stuck in the mud with mates. As a recipient of the FMC Youth Award Grant, she and her team share laughs, forge friendships, and together face a crucial safety decision when the weather turns.
Four friends set out on their Silver qualifying journey only to be tested by weather and demonstrate their maturity in choosing safety over the finish line.
As recipients of the FMC Youth Award Grant, eight students from St. Peters College brave the Humpridge Track in rain-soaked conditions and make lasting memories along the way.
Five students from St. Matthew's College and recipients of the FMC Youth Award Grant: Duke of Edinborough’s Hillary Award Gold share highlights from tramping the Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk -- a 46 kilometre track in Te Urewera, the homeland of the Tūhoe people.