Everything – yet nothing has changed

by Amy Dalton

The AGM held last Monday the 11th of April was a bittersweet affair with two long standing trustees Penny Molnar and Dee Cresswell standing down from the Board after 20 and 16 years of service respectively.

Here from the beginning, Penny, in particular, has a strong connection to, and memories of, the origins and mission of Whenua Iti Outdoors; the vision of Hazel Nash and her drive to use outdoors experiences as a tool for personal and social growth.

As they spoke of 20/30 years ago, the challenges then seemed distant and historical.  The environment that we work in now has an electronic culture, the recreation patterns no longer include a camping holiday over the summer or a tramp into the mountains, kids have tablets instead of tennis rackets and interact electronically instead of hanging out together.   Yet, the more Dee and Penny talked, the more the underlying issues started to sound familiar.   Self-esteem, social interaction, leadership abilities and self-confidence are as much as necessary focus for learning now as they were all those years ago.

It became apparent, that the formula developed and honed over time is still as necessary now as it was then.  The formula – a mix of clear learning outcomes mixed with passionate and skilled staff equals over 20,000 clients who have come through our gates.

And the relevance for us now?  Right now it feels like we are on verge of taking off.  We have steadily been growing over the past 5 years, honing and solidifying the processes and systems created.   We are ready to ensure that opportunities to get into the outdoors and learn from personal challenge, to give people the opportunity to take calculated risks and learn how to make good decisions.

Everything – recreation patterns, social interaction, compliance and funding seem to be changing before our eyes, yet when we look at the outcomes, what we really want to get from the challenge of the outdoors, the personal growth and team building – nothing has changed.

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