Busy term for Westport St John Youth

AuthorRose O'Connor
Date26 May 2021
Published date26 May 2021
Publication titleWest Coast Messenger, The
Children aged between six and 18 years have been working on a variety of badges including safety and adventure ones.

About 20 Penguins aged between six and eight years attended a camp at the Island Creek Lodge at the start of the Lower Buller Gorge, while working towards their 'safety badges.' Four leaders supported them along with five non-commissioned, older cadet, officers.

"The older cadets helped run games and organise the younger ones. They helped to create a nurturing, caring environment," Mrs Kitchin said.

The Penguins were supported in erecting tents, participating in activities and being responsible for themselves. They also enjoyed pony cart rides, thanks to Colleen Soares and Nickola O'Toole, and the bouncy castle and waterslide, thanks to Geoff Richards and the Carters Beach Domain Board.

"It's such a great venue because it is away from home but still close enough especially as some of the younger kids had never been away from home before," Mrs Kitchin said.

"Some had never slept in a tent."

While on camp, they also rolled pre-made truffles and completed cards to deliver to their personal neighbours as part of the Buller District Council's 'Neighbours' Day' promotion.

The former Scout Lodge is now in a trust. The St John group community has worked to maintain and paint the venue in recent years and in return, get to use it.

A highlight for the 13-18-year-olds was the annual trip to Cable Bay, north of Nelson, where the youth tented at the camping grounds and kayaked.

"It is such a wonderful place to kayak because it's so exciting. There are caves and waterfalls to explore. The youth also get to snorkel," Mrs Kitchin said.

Youth have also kayaked at the Floating Basin and across the Buller River. They have biked to Carters Beach along the Kawatiri Coastal Trail to eat pottles of donated ice-cream. Orienteering was also a hit at the Westport Domain.

"It was a warm, wet night and those involved just loved it!" They have carried out scenarios at the Lost Lagoon including rescuing a drowned person and resuscitation, removing a fish hook at the new fishing platform, helping after a bike accident and assisting an older person suffering a medical condition. Older youth directed the younger ones in what to do," Mrs Kitchin said.

"Penguins are not only learning how to keep themselves safe but as part of their badge they are required to help others. Manaakitanga is the Maori concept of respect, generosity and care of others. Showing manaakitanga means...

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