Smiles all round at programme
Children from different schools mixing and making new friends are positive aspects of the Southland District Council’s holiday programme, its organiser says.
Venture Southland is operating the programme in six towns - Winton, Riverton, Otautau, Wyndham, Te Anau and Lumsden - and on Stewart Island during the next three weeks. The programme kicked off at Winton’s Central Southland College on Monday under the guidance of Venture Southland’s events operations co-ordinator Olivia Dean and four assistants.
Forty children attended.
‘‘In the first half hour, kids were walking up to each other and saying, ‘which school are you from?’,’’ said Dean, who worked for Tourism New Zealand and operated a children’s fitness programme in Wellington before moving to Southland in October.
She believed some of the children would gain confidence at the holiday programme.
‘‘They’re making new friends and that helps them going back to school.’’
One of Dean’s assistants, Miguel Buick-Turnbull, has worked on the programme for three or four years.
‘‘Some of the kids have been coming to the programme for as long as I have,’’ he said.
Buick-Turnbull agreed with Dean that some shy children would become more outgoing as a result of taking part.
Lydia Blomfeld, 12, lives in Invercargill but is attending the Winton programme while holidaying with her grandparents in the central Southland town.
Lydia is in her last year of eligibility for the programme, as it is for children aged 5 to 12.
‘‘I’ve been coming along since I was 6,’’ she said. ‘‘I’m meeting new people and it’s something to do.’’
Kirsty Surynt watched her granddaughter, Sasha Jamieson, 6, take part in games on Monday.
‘‘The programme’s great ... all my kids have done it,’’ Surynt said. ‘‘They [children] get bored in the holidays and it gives the parents a break.’’
The Winton (40 children) and Te Anau (70 children) programmes are full but there is room for more children in the other towns involved in the programme.
The programme continues on Tuesday (art and craft work) and Wednesday (movies and quizzes).
Charlie Ellis at the Southland District Council’s children’s holiday programme at the Central Southland College in Winton on Monday.