An inside look – a chat with tertiary students

Bridget Janse_Education Coordinator_Hillary OutdoorsIn this article, Bridget Janse, our Education Coordinator based at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro (pictured left), chats to two tertiary students in their final weeks of the Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Skills and Leadership course…

Josh Goodman and Max Clothier have recently returned from a 12-day student-organised expedition to finish their Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Skills and Leadership with their fellow classmates and tutors. It involved a variety of outdoor activities; tramping, camping, kayaking/tube rafting and rock climbing (aiming to include everyone’s preferred activities). I’m not sure if it was totally planned, but they managed to coordinate arriving in Takaka to watch the Rugby World Cup final!

2015 Certificate class 2015. Max Clothier in back row standing 2nd from right in grey shirt, Josh Goodman is front row middle in stripey shirt

2015 Certificate class 2015. Max Clothier in back row standing 2nd from right in grey shirt, Josh Goodman is sitting in front row middle, in stripey shirt

For Max, a real highlight of the expedition was being able to plan and complete a continuous journey, linking together a variety of outdoor activities. They hiked in the Cobb Valley through to the Takaka River where they built a tube raft and paddled down to Takaka, camping and rock climbing at Paynes Ford. “The rock climbing especially kicked butt – it was great to be in a new location to the Central North Island and it was a totally different experience climbing on limestone.”

Josh commented on the pain and gain aspect of the whole expedition…”on day 2 of the journey we completed a 20km tramp in near horizontal rain. We were wet to the skin but it was gratifying to have done it and coped with the 13 hour challenge. For me, my biggest challenge and also accomplishment, was keeping on top of my personal organisation for the whole 12 days, knowing where my gear was and keeping it accessible.”

The Hillary Outdoors Certificate in Outdoor Adventure Skills and Leadership is a 34 week tertiary course focused on developing a personal skill base in a variety of outdoor activities, alongside trip planning, risk management, first aid, team work, leadership, instructing and communication.

So how did Josh and Max end up on the Certificate Programme at Hillary Outdoors Tongariro?

Max attended a Hillary Outdoors Holiday Action Challenge Programme at the end of Year 11. It was an influential Christmas present that helped Max discover the outdoors. “I loved it,” he said. Max found out more about the Certificate course through a family friend who had completed it and raved about it, so he applied.

Max enjoyed indoor rock climbing before starting the Certificate course, and has enhanced his passion for rock climbing through learning traditional outdoor climbing, which requires you to place your safety gear as you climb up the rock. He has also been pleasantly surprised at how much he enjoyed the kayaking, which was a totally new thing for him.

Josh ended up applying for the Certificate programme after a referral from a friend. “It was kind of a culmination of all the years of doing other things leading me in this direction. School was boring for me, but completing the Year 13 Outdoor Pursuits programme at Cromwell College really sparked my interest in the outdoors.” Prior to this year, Josh had done a little bit of rock climbing and a few other bits and pieces, and doing contract farm work saw him outdoors on a daily basis. The real highlight has been the progression into learning how to lead rock climb outdoors. “It was a natural step-up, and pretty cool to realise what you can do once you know how.” Josh didn’t expect to enjoy the mountaineering, thinking it was just “alpine tramping.” He has discovered a new passion – the snow.

Aside from the practical skills component, impactful learning occurs on a variety of levels for all students. Max has really enhanced his knowledge and skills in rock climbing and learnt the importance of thorough and efficient preparation. For Josh, the importance of personal organisation “figuring out what equipment I need for what I am doing beforehand and the importance of being prepared” was really ingrained.

Advice for potential tertiary students from both Josh and Max is pretty clear; “Utilise the opportunities, get the gear/borrow the gear and get out as much as you can before you start and at every available opportunity during the course. Do the little things like going camping, working on your navigation as it all helps develop and consolidate your skills and experience.”

As with many things, there can be challenging times during the course. Josh was open about the fact that “sometimes things are not enjoyable and personally difficult. You will face set-backs but you need to stay strong and persevere. At times you may run out of enthusiasm but with the support of your class mates and the tutors you can get through. Just be positive.”

“Focusing on the bright side, and when things got tough there was no shame in asking for help and support from others,” commented Max about his outlook that really assisted him during the course and on the final expedition.

So what’s next for these two? Aside from working for the summer, both have some adventures planned. Max is going rock climbing and Josh has some tramping trips in mind. The seed has been well and truly sewn, Josh and Max anticipate a career in the outdoors in the future, guiding or instructing both here in New Zealand and overseas. Both are returning to Hillary Outdoors to complete the second year Diploma in Outdoor Recreation (Instruction) starting in February 2016.

Applications are still being accepted for the Certificate course, for further information click on this link.

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