Surviving to thriving!
Imagine you’re fifteen again. You’re on your way to school. You walk past the shop that has the new Sting-Ray bike you’ve been saving up for in the window, the one with the high-rise handlebars. After countless weeks of braving the wind, the rain and Old Bob’s dog who chases you down the street, you have only a couple more weeks of doing the paper round, and you will have saved up enough to buy it. The finish line is so close! You visualise yourself riding to school every day. You get to school and tell your friends that you’ll be riding with them soon, unable to contain your excitement!
The following week, you take the same trip to school, past that window, just one more round of papers, and it’s yours. Except you notice the new price tag in the window. A sinking feeling settles in your stomach as you realise the price has gone up, and all your hard work now seems like it was for nothing.
Sadly, this is the reality for many youth in Aotearoa. At Hillary Outdoors, we hear numerous stories where a student is incredibly committed to attending one of our programmes with their school. They’re determined and motivated to raise enough funds so they can come to Hillary Outdoors. They have all their ducks in a row but all it takes is for one thing to change; the groceries have gone from costing $200 a week to $250, and now there’s not enough money to put aside, a weather bomb rips through their town and their family’s life gets turned upside down, or they’re let go from their after school job because the company can’t afford to operate any more, due to the ongoing strain from Covid and never-ending increase of the cost of living.
For many rangatahi who attend our programmes, they’ve done the hard yards and only need a nominal amount of support to get them over the line. Thanks to the ongoing generosity from the Share My Super community, individual donors and Trusts, we can distribute funds directly to those students who may only need $25 – $100 to make up their programme fees and be able to experience real adventures, build stronger relationships with their peers, and unlock their full potential.
Other students may need more significant support. Rimu was just 15 when her parents tragically passed away in a car accident. Rimu was booked in to attend a five-week Hillary Outdoors programme but due to the tragedy could no longer afford to attend.
It’s at times like these when it often seems futile to engage in such activities, but ultimately a Hillary Outdoors programme can offer a safe space for youth to express themselves and work through their struggles. Generous funders stepped forward to support Rimu to attend the programme with her class, and during her Hillary Outdoors experience, she formed trusting bonds with her peers, teachers and instructors. Rimu realised her resilience and strength at a time when she most needed it.
Once Rimu returned home, she started volunteering to support others in her community who had faced tragedy and became the Head Girl of her school.
Rimu reflects on her five-week journey as “…what can only be described as a life-changing experience facilitated by Hillary Outdoors, going to Great Barrier Island was the best experience of my life, and I was fortunate enough to have received a full scholarship to go on the five-week programme. For me, Barrier is one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever been on. And it wasn’t just a trip. It was a period of time that I was allowed to grow in and to develop new talents and skills, without any outside pressures.”
Your donations, no matter the amount, can make a huge difference to New Zealand youth, changing their world from simply surviving to thriving.
It is the generosity of philanthropists, like you, who help to make these experiences a reality. Hillary Outdoors provides 40,000 outdoor education days each year, with a goal to fundraise $1 million to support youth, who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend due to hardship, to grow through adventure and connect through participation.
For just $25 you can provide an outdoor education day*, changing a young person’s world and creating pathways for them to flourish into young leaders. With regular donations, together, we can amplify these opportunities for our youth and help to reduce the cycle of poverty.
We are truly grateful to incredible people like you, who help to change the lives of extraordinary young people like Rimu.
Donate today to make adventure happen tomorrow and grow our future leaders.
*An outdoor education day provides young people with an instructor who is highly trained in outdoor safety and in soft skills facilitation. It provides food, safety gear, equipment, transportation to adventures and accommodation.