Earlier on in the year, approximately 280 year 9 students from Wakatipu High School (WHS) participated in a river-based activity day as their adventure camp component in the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Stars Programme. The students were supported by their peer mentors (roughly 70 year 12 and 13 students) in their house whānau groups. They went kayaking on the Kawarau River, learnt river safety and swimming skills under the Kawarau Falls Bridge Ō Te Roto, and were taught valuable river crossing safety at the Shotover Delta Puahuru.
Cheryl-Kay Phillips, WHS Stars Programme Coordinator, explains the camp is an opportunity for students to step out of their comfort zones and experience the rich outdoors whilst taking part in a series of outdoor activities to develop positive relationships, resilience and teamwork.
An evaluation of the Stars adventure camp 2022 found that many of the top-rated items linked to skills improving teamwork and self-confidence.
Areas where students felt the greatest gain were: ‘Listen to others points of view’; ‘Learn to give new things a go’; ‘Learn to be supportive of others; ‘Learn I can achieve things if I put my mind to it’; and ‘Learn that working together requires some cooperation”.
Evaluation showed that the Stars adventure camp had a positive impact on students in the areas of: ‘Working with others’, ‘Courage’ and ‘Building Relationships’.
Student comments from the survey gave further insight such as:
- “I gained some new courage and learnt valuable things about crossing rivers.”
- “I got to know new people and see what they enjoyed and didn’t. I swam in white water for the first time as well.”
The adventure camp is one of four key components that makes up the Graeme Dingle Foundation Stars programme at Wakatipu High School. It is designed to enhance school culture and develop valuable life skills for both junior and senior ākonga (students) by incorporating the tuakana-teina (older guiding younger) mentoring structure.
Graeme Dingle Foundation programmes are made possible thanks to the charitable support from the community. Special thanks to Central Lakes Trust, Wakatipu High School Foundation, Skyline and Kathmandu for their support of Stars at WHS.