Kapi-Mana News : January 17th 2012
24 KAPI-MANA NEWS, JANUARY 17, 2012 NEWS Archery and eels amplify adventure CAMP DETAILS Camp Kaitoke is in the foothills of the Rimutaka Ranges, occupying 15 hectares of fields and bush. It provides year-round facilities and programmes for all kinds of groups for personal development, including leadership, bush craft, kayaking, canoeing, horse work, archery, a ropes course, team-building and orienteering. The camp celebrated its fifth birthday last October after being bought for the second time by Greater Wellington YMCA. The camp was originally set up by the YMCA in the 1950s but sold in the 1960s to the Kiwi Ranch organisation. Greater Wellington YMCA offers a scholarship called ''Campership''. Parents often donate to the Camperships; they pay for their own child and put some extra money into the Campership fund so someone else's child can come. Children may qualify for a government subsidy to attend a camp or any of the YMCA's Y-OSCAR (Out of School Care and Recreation) programmes that run before and after school and in the school holidays. To the rescue: Harrison Clegg helps a camp kayaker get back on course. All together now: Support and encouragement amongst the campers on the rock wall at Camp Kaitoke. Photo Penny Robinson. Burning energy, building confidence Harrison Clegg has developed an I can'' attitude over the past year. The Ascot Park 9-year-old attended his first holiday camp at YMCA Camp Kaitoke uncertain of himself but with energy to burn. By his third camp in October 2011, Harrison was confident enough to leap out of his kayak to help a buddy in need -- braving the eels in water up to his thighs. His mate was stuck with his kayak facing the wrong way in a narrow channel and Harrison quickly turned him around so he could paddle through the tunnel under a bridge. He's more confident now, he's met new friends and has more skills. Rather than saying I don't know how to do that', he's saying I know how to do it','' says mum Nicola O'Brien. He always struggled with social relationships but he's very caring. The camp has given him the opportunity to just be himself and open up. Every time he goes, he's seeing the same people and building friendships.'' YMCA programme manager Emily Robinson says the camp programme works well for Harri- son as the days are structured and busy but full of fun and challenges -- a format that works well for energetic boys. The eels in the lake have achieved a scary reputation among the younger campers though few have ever seen them. They add to the thrill of being in a tiny kayak on the shallow lake. When I first started kayaking, I didn't want to go in the water because they didn't take the eels out of the lake,'' says Harrison. Then I fell in once and I didn't see any eels. I fell in because I stood up and did the chicken dance -- that's something the campers have to do.'' The archery lessons held in the camp gym were another attrac- tion. You get to fire the bows. The first time it was quite hard to handle the bow and the arrow looked like it wasn't sharp, but it was. Then I fired the arrow and it went into the window.'' Fortunately the gym has plastic windows. Greater Wellington YMCA chief executive Simon Jackson says the camp provides structure, some- thing much needed for kids, especially boys, who need to know where they belong and who need an outlet for their energy. They learn self confidence through outdoor activities that stretch them. They don't have to be anybody but themselves. They're asked to take care of their camp buddies or anyone else who needs help -- and they rise to the occasion.''
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