Children embrace the great oudoors
A challenge was taken up by Whakamaru school students to utilise what was in their own ‘‘backyards’’.
As a part of the William Pike Challenge Award, some of the intermediate students took on a 12-kilometre Waikato river trail.
Principal Jill McArthur said getting active has improved the children’s attitudes. ‘‘There is a difference in relationships with the children.’’
Eleven- year- old Maia Doig enjoyed the challenge. ‘‘ We’re doing something we’ve never done before,’’ she said
There were 65 children from five Waikato schools who tramped the Whakamaru-based trail with Pike.
Pike said the Maraetai section was chosen so the children could use their own surroundings.
‘‘ We are providing opportunities for students to engage in an active and healthy lifestyle, and giving them the opportunity to interact with local places and local communities,’’ he said.
The school-based programme was designed to push students to achieve.
Pike said he used a combination of his love for teaching and the outdoors, building on his own experience as an amputee.
The former primary school teacher had his right leg amputated after he was caught in the 2007 Mt Ruapehu eruption.
But his disability has never stopped him. ‘‘I go for three or four- hour tramps with some breaks,’’ he said.
For the past four years, he has motivated students using the outdoors and recognised their achievements.
Students receive a certificate when they have completed the programme.
Pike said the number of schools has almost doubled since last year with 30 now signed up.
BEAUTIFUL DAY: Whakamaru students enjoy sights along the walk.