A passion for the outdoors has led to a Waihī College student receiving a grant for her Duke of Edinburgh Award journey.
The international award, divided into bronze, silver and gold, challenges young people to leave their comfort zones and create opportunities to learn new skills, get physically active, give service to their communities, and take part in an adventure.
Waihī College year 13 student Naomi Laslett recently received a $200 grant from Katikati Tramping Club to go towards the ‘Adventurous Journey’ section of her gold award, which involved hiking Mount Pirongia and the Tongariro Northern Circuit.
Naomi told The Profile she was “very pleased” and “relieved” to receive the grant.
“It helped me save up for pretty much all my trips and stuff,” she said.
“It mainly went towards my [tramping] boots. I had to get brand new boots because on my previous trip [Tongariro Northern Circuit in September last year] they got completely and utterly destroyed, so I was able to buy a brand new pair of high quality boots.”
The award requires participants to complete voluntary service, physical recreation, skills and adventurous journey sections for each level.
Naomi said she had taken part in Duke of Edinburgh since 2019 and was 25 weeks away from achieving gold.
“[For voluntary service] I’m an assistant scout leader, I teach outdoors for quite a few students. Because I’m [going for] gold, I’m able to assist, instruct the river courses [in Waihī],” she said.
“I do dog agility as my skill, and for my physical I’m able to do running around the [Karangahake Gorge].”
The gold award also requires participants to also complete a residential project, and Naomi said she took part in a 10-day Spirit of Adventure voyage to achieve this.
Katikati Tramping Club spokesperson Christine Lowe said the purpose for the grants was to foster and support local young people’s interest and participation in tramping, bush and outdoor activities, and to help them develop an awareness of the natural environment.
“Having been a key group with tramper members from Waihī to Katikati and further afield, and tramping in the greater Waihī-Katikati environments for nearly 50 years, the club is keen to bring together folks who enjoy group tramping,” she said.
“The club… is keen to support young people to develop interest and skills and experience in tramping.”
Maddy Watts, from Katikati College, also received a grant from the club.