Teens tough it out in Cactus challenge
Early morning starts and teenagers don’t normally go handin-hand but for 30 students from Kaikoura High School the extra effort to get up and sweat it out at the school gym is worth the reward.
For eight weeks, three times a week starting at 6am the students and trainers go through a strict fitness regime, which include formal army-style physical training, sprints, circuits, interval training and various fitness tests.
The programme is run by the Bluelight Trust committee, made up of Sergeant Matt Boyce, Janine Bell Spiers, Mike Lawrie, Dave Gillies and Tony Ankor.
Boyce said it was a joint effort from people with different expertise and experience, and what came out was a very good programme.
‘‘It’s a big commitment and the programme is a positive way for police to be in involved with the community working with young people. We get to understand the kids and they get to see us as a member of the community,’’ he said.
In 11 days time these toughminded students will wake up to the Cactus (Combine Adolescent Challenge Training Unit and Support) Longest Day event on September 17, where they will face eight hours of gruelling exercise.
The build up is tough. Formation and marching is included as part of the drill.
Hayden Rush, 14, said the squad, as they are called, will do a special open order march on parade at the start and finish of the Longest Day. ‘‘It’s good experience,’’ he said. ‘‘I learnt to to go hard and try harder, and just keep going and push myself.’’
Claire Booker, agreed the programme gives her energy.
It’s the first time the 16-yearold has entered the challenge and she wanted to push herself and do something physically intensive.
‘‘It’s a pretty big ask, and a lot of commitment,’’ she said.
‘‘We’ve learn to support each other and encourage each other on.’’
Kaikoura High School students Adam Ford, 17, Michael Jones, 15, Dishan Muthunaidelage, 16, Claire Booker, 16, and Hayden Rush, 14, tuck into a hearty breakfast after the early morning drill.