The most adventurous young teenagers in each corner of New Zealand have been found. And now they must prepare for the biggest challenge of their lives: a gruelling five-day test that will decide who wins the country’s premier outdoor adventure title.
Twelve mixed-gender Year 9 and 10 teams have been declared winners of their regional Get2Go Challenge events, earning them the right to vie for the national title.
This year’s finalists include last year’s winners – a combined team from Whangarei Girls’ High School and Whangarei Boys’ High School (with a perfect score in their regional event) – as well as teams from Wellington, Horowhenua, North Shore, Waikato, Auckland, Hawke’s Bay, New Plymouth, Christchurch, Fiordland, Nelson and Whakatane. (Complete list of finalist schools follows.)
In December they will travel to the OPC base on Great Barrier Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf to compete in the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre of New Zealand (OPC) Get2Go Challenge final, sponsored by Youthtown.
“Of the 2000 students who entered the regional competitions, just 96 remain,” says OPC events manager Darren Ashmore. “Each of them has met our tests with courage and determination and proved themselves worthy of competing for the national Get2Go title.“
For the one-day regional competitions, each team competed in a range of fun but testing challenges, including orienteering, kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking, in an Amazing Race-style competition.
“The aim was to give students of all abilities a chance to experience the outdoors,” says Darren. “For many, it was the first time they’d tasted the rewards that come from teamwork, leadership, problem solving, physical activity and the outdoors. And those rewards aren’t just about glory – they’re about the pride of knowing you’ve pushed your boundaries, and the buzz of experiencing something new.”
Darren says the success of the competition so far can be measured in the flood of congratulatory emails he’s received from participating schools.
This email, from a Waikato teacher, was typical: “The kids came back buzzing and it was so good to get sooo many of my students there exposed to it. What was even better is that they realised that they could achieve it – particularly the number that are not involved in any sports. Which is a great reminder for me that winning is not everything.”
Another teacher, from Manukau, wrote: “Students had a blast, were tired as and couldn’t stop smiling all the way home.”
The five-day final will be held from December 13 to 17, and will introduce a range of new experiences to the Get2Go competitors.
“The students can’t wait – and, to be honest, neither can I,” says Darren. “We’ve got some really fun challenges to throw at them. The Get2Go final is always a rewarding experience for everyone involved, including us here at OPC.”
Get2Go, now in its fifth year and with Youthtown sponsoring for the first time in 2010, is the junior equivalent to the Genesis Energy Hillary Challenge for senior secondary students.