When an experience is described as “the best weekend of my life” you know it was success.
And that is exactly how 16 teenagers from the AUT Refugee Centre in Mangere described their time at the Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp.
Along with the teenagers, parent helpers and staff from the centre went on the weekend trip.
For some this was the first time they had been on a boat, and for almost all, it was the first opportunity to experience any of the activities on offer.
Students from Columbia, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan tried their hand at archery, high rope and rock-wall climbing, kayaking, flying fox, swimming and bush walking.
Maria Hayward, manager of the Refugee Centre says the entire weekend was an amazing experience.
“It was an honour to be part of this. The camp was amazing and all the staff loved it too and are keen to go again.”
She says resettling in a new country is always hard and the camp was too.
“But meeting the challenges of the various activities was enormously satisfying and confidence building for the students.”
She hopes that this will translate into the students knowing they have the capacity to meet resettlement challenges too.
Daniel, a student that attended the camps says the flying fox was his favourite part.
“The first time of the flying fox was scary, the second time you felt like you can fly.”
Another student, Maryam says Motutapu is an “awesome island” and “I want to memorise every moment. It was an unforgettable trip.”
Funding for the trip was courtesy of the Newmarket Rotary Club. Staff at the camp offered their time and services for free.