Support crew’s high-flying day
Seven city children selected by their schools for leadership and citizenship have enjoyed a highflying day of rewards.
Chosen by their teachers as part of the Junior Neighbourhood Support programme, four pupils from Ashhurst School and three from Longburn School, were picked up and chauffeured by police car to activities that had them climbing, hobnobbing with the mayor, flying, and swimming.
The morning began at the VertX indoor climbing wall where instructor Dene Price and his support team introduced the children to the training wall, the low level slack line and the boulder cave.
‘‘There’s a little bit of risk with climbing - it’s called falling,’’ Price told the youngsters before showing them how to pull on their safety harnesses ‘‘like a big pair of underpants’’.
Once roped up, they showed plenty of agility in scaling the 7-metre wall.
Isobel Harris, 12, said she was selected for helping organise her school’s fun days and helpful clean-up tasks.
‘‘I think this is pretty cool. It’s challenging,’’ Isobel said.
Her fellow Longburn pupils Isobel Donald and Louie Wright, were joined by Bella McLean, Samiya Welch, Daniel Wilson and Anna Poyzer from Ashhurst.
After climbing it was time for morning tea with city mayor Grant Smith.
From the council chambers, the children were then taken to the Rescue Helicopter base at Palmerston North Hospital for a scenic whirl over the city.
Following a lunch at Breakers, they spent the rest of the afternoon at the Lido.
Programme chairman Stan Foote said Junior Neighbourhood Support had been running for 10 years, with schools joining in on a two-year rotate.
‘‘We get members of the services - Civil Defence, fire and police - in to talk to the kids about ways they can assist during an emergency. The other component is about serving the community and finding opportunities to take on useful tasks.’’
Initiatives had included clearing the junkmail from the letterboxes of people who were away, and using council supplied clean-up kits to remove graffiti.
Student-led school projects had looked at Kiwi heroes, such as Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Peter Blake, but focusing on what they did after they became famous, and how they had used their status and influence to benefit others.
Samiya Welch, 13, and Bella McLean, 13, enjoy the VertX climbing wall.