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.

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