Busy year ahead for Bluelight | News | Kawerau

Busy year ahead for Bluelight

3 March 2015

SPORTING STAR: Warriors player Shaun Johnson with Matata Blue Light participants Matiaha Raynes-Turnbull, Rewiata Semmens and Mason Raynes. Photo supplied.

A GROUP of Matata children met Warriors player Shaun Johnson on a Blue Light trip to see the league team play in Auckland recently.

The trip was just one of the activities Blue Light Matata has been involved with already this year.

This year is shaping up to be a busy one for the Eastern Bay Blue Light group with mountain biking, leadership camps and plenty of discos planned.

Matata Blue Light spokesman Kevin Raynes said the group organised two week-long holiday programmes in January.

One targeted primary- and intermediate-aged students, and a second suited to teens between 13 and 18 years.

The programme for younger children was based around Matata, and included a visit to a farm and an afternoon playing on a 60-metre-long homemade water slide.

“The heat was a major factor so we attempted to change the programme to suit the weather,” Mr Raynes said.

The programme for older students focused on water safety, with a week of activities including kayaking at Lake Rotoma, a jet boat tour of Lake Rotorua, a trip to Adrenaline Forest, mountain biking and plenty of swimming.

Mr Raynes said it was an opportunity for the teens to step outside their comfort zone and the girls led the field during many of the activities.

The Matata team also took a group to Auckland earlier this month to see the Warriors play and another group on a fishing charter.

The 12 children took the charter boat Silverado out to Whale Island with skipper John Baker, who focused on teaching the group about conservation.

Preparation for future holiday programmes, Thornton and Whakatane raft races, a trip to Rainbows End, discos and Guy Fawkes celebrations were under way, he said.

Whakatane Blue Light was also busy over the holidays with similar youth programmes and preparing for a leadership camp in March.

The national Blue Light organisation recently purchased a camp near Taupo, which will host the Whakatane group.

Co-ordinator Richard Hamer said the event would target children who were not natural leaders and provide skills and support to grow their potential.

When the students returned to school they would also complete follow-up activities, which included being part of organising an event.

Recently, the group bought a new set of mountain bikes and a purpose-built trailer for its holiday programmes and as a road safety teaching tool in schools.

Mr Hamer estimated that by the start of this month 390 children had ridden the bikes, many of whom would not otherwise have had such an opportunity.

Kawerau Blue Light spokeswoman Hannah Edwardson said the group’s first big event was a boat trip out to Whale Island for 18 children on March 11.

She said the group was also planning holiday programmes and four discos to mark the end of each school term.

The group also wanted to increase its profile in the community by taking part alongside young people in a number of outdoor events, she said.

These included Seriously Social Rafting on Tarawera River and the town’s annual six-hour adventure race.

Source: Whakatane Beacon