The first planes carrying 275 very excited Canterbury children arrive in Auckland today, kicking off a two-week series of Youthtown organised Break from the Quake camps.
The camps will see more than 500 children aged 10-17 escape the city over the July school holidays and get involved in some fun and engaging activities at camps in Tongariro, Great Barrier Island and Auckland.
Students will be flown to Auckland with assistance from Air New Zealand for an action packed week-long schedule of fun. The camps are completely free of charge with all costs covered by Youthtown and other sponsors and supporters.
Youthtown CEO, Keith Thorpe, says a lot of behind the scenes planning has taken place over the previous months, but seeing the smiles on the children’s faces as they landed in Auckland and were told about their exciting week has made it all worthwhile for organisers.
Youthtown, which has an 80-year history of providing physical, social and creative youth activities, was perfectly positioned to take on a project of this scale.
“We are officially launching Break from the Quake this afternoon with a very special event aboard The Spirit of New Zealand, the boat whose name aptly sums up what this week is all about,” says Thorpe.
“Our young Cantabrians will accompany us on a boat cruise of the Auckland harbour where they will place 181 flowers and a wreath into the water under the harbour bridge to commemorate and remember each life tragically lost in the February 22 earthquake.”
Following the launch event, the focus for these children will be having fun and taking a well-deserved ‘break from the quake’.”
During the week the group of Tongariro campers will get to participate in the wide range of indoor and outdoor activities the National Park has to offer while campers heading to Great Barrier Island have an intrepid variety of action-packed events in store.
Auckland campers will take day trips which include visits to the zoo and amusement parks, trying their hand at skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and tree climbing, a trip to the movies, a special tour of the new Eden Park, watching a rugby game and meeting some of New Zealand’s sporting champions.
The campers will be accompanied by selected supervisors and caregivers to ensure continuity of care while away from home. Youthtown has partnered with a series of organisations including Air New Zealand and The Levene Foundation to enable the camps to happen.
Other businesses that have generously donated products and services include Telecom, Farmers, Rainbow’s End, Auckland Zoo, Motat, Spirit of Adventure Trust, Subway, Northern Districts Coastguards, Eden Park Trust Board, Auckland Rugby Union, Skycity, Event Cinemas, Brightstar, NZ Maritime Museum, Snowplanet, Tree Adventures, Vero, Coca-Cola and KFC.
For more information on Youthtown Break from the Quake visit www.youthtown.org.nz.