Kuranui College senior students are swapping their shirts and shoes for lifejackets and tramping boots thanks to the Out and About course, which gives them the chance to earn NCEA credits for outdoor education.
The current focus is kayaking, with the group developing new skills and safety techniques at Greytown Swimming Pool, before enjoying a day paddling at Waiohine Gorge. They have learnt about the various types of kayaks and equipment and how to paddle a whitewater kayak, including technical paddle strokes.
Most importantly, they have been taught how to perform various rescue techniques, including self-rescue and even Eskimo rolling for the more confident.
Head of Senior College and Outdoor Education teacher, Josh Hutchings, says Out and About brings wide-ranging benefits. “The value of this course is that it teaches trust, resilience, accountability, builds confidence and teamwork, and allows students to learn skills which open up the chance to experience places and challenges they may never have otherwise,” he explains.
Student Tylah Higgerson agrees. “It gets you outdoors, so you’re not stuck in a classroom and it lets you experience new things that maybe you have never done before. You get the chance to get out of your comfort zone.”
The course has appealed to students right across the board, with Harvey Morison enjoying the contrast with the science papers he’s taking for NCEA Level 3. “I’ve always had fun doing outdoor activities and it’s just a way for me to keep doing that, as well as getting some credits for it. It gives me more experiences and helps with teamwork and leadership.”
With the kayaking component nearly completed, Mania Apiata is already looking forward to the next challenge. “This course has gone throughout the whole year, but once we have been to the Wahine Gorge that will be kayaking done,’ she says. “The next one will be tramping. We are going on a couple of over-night tramps, and then we go for a two-night tramp, and as students we get to choose where we go.”