Ain’t no moun­tain high enough

The Invercargill Eye - - OUT & ABOUT - JOANNA GRIF­FITHS

He has climbed moun­tains, cleaned beaches and looked af­ter baby an­i­mals, now all he can do is wait.

Finn Dob­bie, 16, is one of about 30 South­land teens ner­vously wait­ing to find out whether they have achieved a Duke of Ed­in­burgh award.

The award is a pro­gramme for 14 to 25-year-olds which en­cour­ages them to get out­doors and be in­volved in the com­mu­nity. The group have been work­ing to­wards the award for more than 12 months as part of the YMCA youth lead­er­ship pro­gramme.

Finn sheep­ishly ad­mit­ted join­ing the pro­gramme was not his idea. ‘‘My mother told me to. She has a strong per­son­al­ity.’’

Al­ready a vol­un­teer at the SPCA and a lover of the out­doors, he fig­ured ‘‘why not?’’. It was one of the best things he had done.

‘‘I love climb­ing.’’

In the two years he had been part of the pro­gramme he had gone on nine tramps, in­clud­ing Rodgers In­let, Lake Hank­in­son, Ge­orge Sound and Kiwi Burn in the snow.

‘‘The snow wasn’t that bad, the mat and the sleep­ing bag kept most of the cold out.’’

As well as com­bat­ing the cold the teen had to be care­ful where he stepped. ‘‘ The snow wasn’t solid and quickly fell from un­der- neath you. It was a lot of fun.’’

He con­sid­ered him­self lucky to be a South­lander.

‘‘It is one of the best places to go tramp­ing. We have all these nice walks ... you can just walk through and it’s so tran­quil.’’

Tramp­ing was a pas­time he would keep do­ing, he said.

‘‘I don’t un­der­stand those peo­ple who don’t go out­side and who have never done some­thing like stepped into a cave.’’

YMCA South­land youth lead­er­ship pro­gramme co-or­di­na­tor Tony Shore said he was im­pressed by the ac­com­plish­ments of the group.

‘‘Once a month they go out to Oreti Beach and pick up rub­bish. ‘‘They have helped cut and mark tracks for DOC, helped bait­ing rats, they are re­ally mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.’’

The Duke of Ed­in­burgh pro­gramme helped teens be the best ver­sion of them­selves, he said. Finn hopes to be awarded his sil­ver Duke of Ed­in­burgh award at the YMCA grad­u­a­tion night on De­cem­ber 9.

He has al­ready started plan­ning the trip to go to­wards his gold Duke of Ed­in­burgh award. He plans to walk the Ke­pler track with four friends in April.

SUP­PLIED

Finn re­turn­ing on the Green Lake track in Oc­to­ber at a boggy sec­tion in Archies Clear­ing.

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