Ain’t no mountain high enough
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.
Finn returning on the Green Lake track in October at a boggy section in Archies Clearing.