There’s no such Thing as bad Weather…only bad Clothing

hillary-outdoors_gemmaGreat Barrier Island Centre Manager Gemma Parkin (pictured right) tells us about the constant process of gear and equipment repairs and replacement at the Centre and the generous support of our funding partners…

Coasteering Great Barrier IslandCorrectly equipping students to safely head into the outdoors is a massive job for both of our Centres. On Mondays the gear shed is always a busy place as students pop in to borrow rain jackets, fleece jerseys, wetsuits and many other items needed for a safe adventure.

For many schools or students, requesting them to provide this gear themselves would make the cost of participating in our programmes prohibitive. So, we loan gear out (where we can) for the week to remove the barriers accessing gear could cause.

As you might imagine, this means a lot of clothing and equipment is needed. Our Great Barrier Centre can cater for up to 70 participants, but those participants won’t all be the same size, and next week’s group will be different again. How many Life Jackets do you need to correctly fit one to every student? A lot!

We’re incredibly grateful to the generous funders who provide much of this equipment for us. To highlight one item and the difference it has made…The Dragon Community Trust recently funded the purchase of 40 full length winter wetsuits to replace some of our 8-year-old very worse for wear suits.

Coasteering with Hillary OutdoorsThis time last year, Coasteering and other marine activities were a race against the cold and clock. Instructors and students traversed the coastline as quickly as was safely possible; squeezing in a quick halfway stop for warm milo, and monitoring how long the group spent at ‘jump sites’ so body temperatures didn’t drop too much.

This year, with students dressed in appropriate and well-fitting wetsuits we can take our time. Groups are exploring the caves, investigating the marine environment and happily taking on extra challenges. Four hours of bobbing around in the ocean in the middle of winter – no worries!

Maintaining and replacing our gear is a constant process. If you know someone who might be able to help enable these amazing learning adventures by helping with the costs of gear and equipment, please let us know.

Enjoy the last of the cooler weather and stay warm – we will!