Kids conquer fear of water and improve fitness to have a blast at school camp

A Wellington school had a school camp planned in and around the Abel Tasman National Park. As part of their planning, the teachers surveyed the students to find out if they felt anxious about any aspects of the upcoming camp. The results of the survey indicated that some children were worried about their fitness (a 13km hike was planned as part of the camp programme) and had a fear of water.

The staff approached their school Board of Trustees and Compass Health to help fund a programme to address these student concerns. Funding was approved and six students took part.

The teachers devised a programme, lasting the school term, whereby the kids would swim every lunch time at Te Rauparaha Arena, with an instructor from Dash Swim School. The goal was to improve fitness in order to complete the 13km hike at camp.

The teacher aide who took the kids mentored them in positive outlooks and set challenges for them weekly, for example ‘no fizzy this week’.

The result? All the kids walked the 13km hike on day two of camp. All the kids swam at Anchorage beach and in the pool and water slide at camp.

Some of the comments from the students who participated in the programme:

“This programme taught me different strokes, and water survival”

“I learnt how to survive by yourself in water, how to swim lengths and how to dive”

“I learnt how to swim!”

“We did an obstacle course that was fun. I liked the aqua­jogging.”

“I liked diving in and grabbing the rings”

“At the time, I didn’t like when we were made to swim 1km, but afterwards I got a sense of accomplishment ‘cos I didn’t think I could do it.”

- Teacher, Wellington School