How Raglan Area School Students Went Wild With Wintec

When Raglan Area School wanted to develop an engaging, dynamic and safe outdoor education programme, they turned to Wintec and the results are getting a big thumbs up from their adventurous rangatahi.

Wintec Outdoor Adventure Education educator Dave Williams moved to Raglan in 2018 and loves the challenges and the outdoor diversity on his doorstep. He says, “Raglan Area School had wanted to deliver outdoor education for a while, but they needed some assistance to make sure it was delivered in a way that achieved their kaupapa [objectives] well, and where students were safe”.

“I had an existing relationship with the school, so we discussed at length what it would take to build a programme to best suit their ākonga [students] and kura [school], and the values they have.”

Once they established that, Williams and the Wintec Outdoor Adventure Education team worked with Raglan Area School Lead Teacher Outdoor Education, Matua Liam Coulden-Lavers at Raglan Area School to build a Level 1 and 2 Outdoor Adventure Education programme. The Level 1 programme was launched in February this year and Level 2 will launch in 2022.

Matua Liam, Wintec tutors, Wintec students and local crew, Raglan Rock are collaboratively teaching the students rock climbing, abseiling, sea kayaking, bush survival, mountain biking and navigating on land to develop their physical and personal skills. An important aspect of the programme is enabling students to take on challenges and build transferrable skills outside the classroom.

While Raglan is the perfect environment to develop outdoor education skills, Williams says a highlight has been teaching the students new experiences and taking them to places they have never been before.

“The response from our Raglan rangatahi has been really rewarding. We recently went kayaking for a few days in Tāpapakanga Regional Park [Auckland] and paddled to Waitawa Reserve to stay overnight,” Williams says.

“It was amazing seeing the students on the water having the time of their lives in a place they’d never been to before. Quite a few of them said ‘this is awesome, I want to sea kayak all the time!’”

Matua Liam delivers the Level 1 and 2 programme for Year 11 – 13 students and has also developed an introductory programme for the Year 7-10 students. He says outdoor education is a highlight for many students at the school and it’s providing a platform for success.

“One of the most rewarding things for me so far this year has been the impact the contact with Wintec students has had on the rangatahi at our school. Working with these young adults has shown them there is a pathway for them that can lead to an exciting, rewarding career.”

Raglan Area School Principal Louisa Barham says outdoor education is an opportunity to live their values of manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga and poutama and she is “rapt with how far they have progressed the programme for year 11,12 and 13 students”.

“Embarking on this ambitious decision to get a more formalised Outdoor Education programme

in our community was a “no-brainer” to me. The speed with which this programme has begun and is evolving with limited funding is so exciting to see. Dave Williams, Matua Liam and the Perry Outdoor Education Trust have proven that where there is a will, there is a way,” says Barham.

“At first, many of our students were hesitant to sign up but we now have a waiting list and there is no doubt the programme will continue in 2022.”

The end goal for Raglan Area School is to become accredited.

“We are helping to develop Raglan Area School professionally so they can work toward taking over the programme when the school gets accreditation. This also involves professional development for teachers which Matua Liam has fully embraced. Raglan Area School is fortunate to have such passionate staff to drive this initiative,” says Williams.

“There will be a handover process and that’s our objective to assist where we can and how we can. So if over time we are redundant then that’s our job done for now. If in turn we get a few students wanting to continue their programme at Wintec, then that’s awesome.”

Outdoor Adventure Education includes discovery, experimentation, learning about and connecting to the natural world, and engaging in environmental and adventure activities.

At a professional level, qualified Outdoor Adventure Education specialists learn how to guide people safely in outdoor pursuits and there are opportunities for employment in adventure tourism and the environmental sector.

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