College Students take on White Water!

June 04, 2014 at 2:31 PM

With plenty of prior practice in the College pool, our Year 12 Outdoor Education students were as prepared as they could be to take on the second stage of their kayaking module - but it was still a huge leap from the quiet, still water of the familiar school pool to the boiling surf at Mt Maunganui and the raging white water currents of the Kaituna River!

Outdoor Education is a relatively new course at the College and is offered at NCEA Level 2 (Year 12) and Level 3 (Year 13). It is not for the faint hearted and prospective students must demonstrate a real passion for the outdoors and be prepared to meet the many challenges! The course aims for students to become actively knowledgeable, skilled and safe in selected activities, with care for the environment a paramount focus. The modules provide a range of outdoor challenges as diverse as sea and white water kayaking, bushcraft, mountaineering skills, mountain biking and scuba diving, along with the added challenge of a solo overnight experience. The students examine the concept of outdoor education as a worthwhile, life-long interest as well as its potential for employment. 

The Year 12 students had been working on NCEA Level 2 Achievement Standard 2.4 – ‘Performance standard.’ They had spent the prior four weeks learning to roll and right a kayak in the pool at College and having been assessed in their level of proficiency, now took on the challenge of the next stage - learning to control white-water kayaks in the surf, with the aim of successfully rolling in the rough sea conditions!

Over a few days at the end of May, they travelled first to Mt Maunganui. Once they saw the nature of the surf, the challenging task ahead overshadowed any negative thoughts about the temperature of the water in May! Over the course of two days, they practised their skills again and again building confidence, decision making and leadership skills in this new environment.

With a new sense of accomplishment and a growing confidence, the students travelled on to Rotorua to take on the white water conditions of the Kaituna River, which includes a seven metre high waterfall, the highest commercially rafted waterfall in the world! The river was in full flow for their white knuckle thrill ride that saw a few spills along the way!

In the coming weeks, Outdoor Education students will have the opportunity to take part in caving at Waitomo, a winter tramp and an optional dive at the Poor Knights. At Year 13 level, the concepts are developed further with a focus on the ability to cope in an emergency. To that end, this week the Year 13’s have been busy with a CPR course.

All these activities are complemented with classroom assignments requiring the students to evaluate their physical activity, analyse issues in safety management and devise strategies for lifelong well-being. Now in its third year, this course has grown in popularity both for its challenges and the possibilities for future engagement in the activities undertaken. There is much to learn and much to enjoy!

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