Posts Tagged ‘Sir Edmund Hillary’

Project Positive

06/01/2012

Graeme Dingle, New Zealand mountaineer does good

Graeme Dingle is fast becoming one of my role models, and I’ve never met the man. I intend to though. Maybe if I’m fortunate, we may collaborate on a co-venture project helping to connect people to the mountains, who knows. The more I learn about Mr. Dingle, the more I like and respect who he is, what he stands for, and what he’s accomplished in outdoor education.
Here’s an article from the Directions Magazine
By Laura Crooks

Inspiring New Zealand teenagers to reach their potential was a plan born during a trip to the Arctic by adventurer Graeme Dingle and partner Jo-anne
Wilkinson in the early ’90s.

Why did you think New Zealand needed a specific programme to help the country’s youth?
I set  up the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre (OPC) in 1972 and I thought that was my  contribution to New Zealand in terms of young people. But it was really just the start, because I learnt so much about youth development through it and I got to thinking about the business of dealing with harder kids than those we met at OPC. I felt that for kids who had low confidence and low self-esteem, a one week experience in the wilderness wasn’t enough – it needed to be a continuum of things that really built on what had been learnt in that first period. I then set out to do the first continuous circumnavigation of the Arctic and in the Arctic you get a lot of very unusual communities – they’re very isolated and they live in such extraordinary circumstances where it’s light half the year, then continuously dark the other half of the year. They have very high rates of suicide, the kids don’t have too much to look forward to, and that started us thinking. But it didn’t really hit home until we got back to New Zealand – that here we lived in paradise and yet we had one of the highest rates of youth suicide, youth incarceration, dropouts from school unplanned teenage pregnancy – the works. The main catalyst was going to see Once Were Warriors – that was the thing that finally made us say: “Let’s do something about this”. So, Jo-anne and I invented Project K. basically. The Project K Trust grew into the Foundation for Youth Development (FYD) with nearly 20,000 young people in programmes each year. The FYD runs programmes for kids aged 5 – 18, and Project K is one of these. (more…)

Inspirational People

20/06/2009

One Boy’s Passion for Wilderness Survival Skills

Marco & Jelena Wells

Marco & Jelena Wells

One never knows when an inspirational person will cross one’s path. Today, for me,  it came in the form of Marco Wells, all of 12 years, who visited us in Piha, with his sister Jelena, mother and father Tina and Steve and grandmother Helen from the former republic of Yugoslavia, (who recently attended our wedding a few weeks ago.) From the start, it’s a bit hard to determine who’s the biggest inspiration in this family, whether it’s Helen for starting her journey to New Zealand from eastern Europe years ago, or Marco’s dad who fosters his son’s love of the outdoors and wilderness survival. Then there’s his mother, who gets just as excited as her son, when we got the compass out and starting shooting bearings off the nearby peaks. It could also be his wonderful sister who’s eyes lit up during our day hike, when she looked over the edge of the windy cliff, which dropped a few hundred metres down to the Tasman sea. But this story leads me back to Marco.

A few weeks ago at our wedding, “Grandmother Helen” (we’ve also adopted her as our own), told us about her grandson who “is interested in the out-of-doors”.  Well, when I started talking to Marco today at our home, “interested” was an understatement. Marco is passionate about wilderness skills, wild edibles, feeling the wind, and even a bit of climbing and just being out there. He’s got it in his blood.

Today's Hiking Buddies

Today's Hiking Buddies

My wife and I later wondered aloud, after they had left back for the  Auckland area, what makes one boy passionate about the outdoors and the next, not. I was that boy which started with my romping and winter camping trips around the John F Gile Memorial Forest and Morgan Pond in New Hamsphire. Marco, his dad and I talked about “nature deficit disorder” and, stating the obvious, I mentioned the threat of video games, technology and kid’s lack of nature time.
(Image: L-R:Randy & Amanda Richards, Grandmother Helen, Marco, Yelena, Tina and Steven Wells)

Kare Kare Beach from our Hike Today

Kare Kare Beach from our Hike Today

Not Marco! He’s out back building different types of fires, constructing snares and assembling survival kits in a can. OK, I’m sure he puts his own time on the computer too, but he sure knows quite a few native plants and is working on lots of survival skills. On our walk today he was naming a number of plants and their their uses. He taught me a number of things today, but one stuck in my mind. When collecting and using silver ferns for a emergency shelter, be sure to turn the ferns belly up, otherwise, the tiny seeds, adhered to the bottom sides of the fern, will drop off on you during the night causing irritation and itching. He showed me the tiny seeds. Marco, just so you know, I’ll not forget that. (more…)