HOWICK COLLEGE, NEW ZEALAND
“School students are perfectly able to organize their on survival and nature expeditions.”
School students can self-organize wilderness group expeditions. Yes, they can. They are not too dumb to organize their own travel, food or survival. In fact, it’s the ultimate teenage experience!
Living legend Dave has been pioneering this for 15 years at New Zealand’s howick college. No doubt, everybody’s favorite sports teacher.
Dave is enthusiastic to share his experience with principals, teachers and student leaders to bring similar experiences to their schools and #MakeSchoolAwesome. A
Nature, exercise, adventure, veggie diet, selfless service – bring on the challenges – and then let’s do this!
As Howick College’s Head of Outdoor Education for 15 years, he has been guiding 25 fully student-led expeditions including Year 9 Camps involving up to 500 students and staff each year into the wild heart of New Zealand, into the forest, up the mountains and down snowy slopes.
The destination, the path, itineries, distance, overnight camps, teams, equipment, meals – one does not want to run out of food, forget lighters or mess up the pasta and sauce! You can imagine students’ intense attention and commitment from day one!
Dave’s function was to make sure that students survived.
His students hold the dearest memories of these times. The bonds last until today. And so does the confidence, the sense of magic and adventure that Dave instilled in his students.
Pedagogues know that adventure and wilderness experience gives us a better appreciation for ourselves, others and the natural environment and enhances our social, mental, physical and spiritual well-being. But schools do not exactly excel at tapping into this potential. We think they should!
Think about your experience with school, class or youth trips in nature. Compare with what you’ve seen on tv, in magazines and … find exciting!
Spend some good time among youth and gather your dreams, laughs and fears about going on an entirely youth-led expedition in a region without extreme heat, ice and wild beasts. Will you survive? Will it be wow and magical? Will it be boring? Why not do it?
How about going on a micro expedition?
How about going on an overnight trip … with or without canoes etc, with or without bonus challenges like mountains; preferably with an experienced adult as “life saver” like Dave is – simple there to make sure no one gets sick or dies or cries their eyes out over a scratch or bug or poop mark.
The ultimate trick : pick a goal that you find exciting! You wanna get there! And you love to pass amazing spaces along the way. And you may enjoy activities on the path, visit people along the way, and document it in fun ways. Make it FUN!
Well, what’s your plans?