Visiting NZSF-3 at the mouth of the Clarence River
NZSF-3-09/20/2012 has just completed their Canoe section and started their Hiking section. Ten students and three instructors paddled 200 km down the Clarence River all the way to the Pacific Ocean. The route consists of almost continuous grade I-III rapids, running between two mountain ranges and through three gorges. The first third of the section was focused on the outdoor skills and canoe skills the students would need to succeed as leaders on the river. Six days into the course a student was evacuated for a medical issue. In the following two-thirds of the section, the focus turned to leadership and each student had the opportunity to be the group's designated leader 2-3 times. Weather was generally mild for Spring, but that still meant lots of cold and rainy travel days.
The section finished 40 km north of the town of Kaikoura, where the river meets the ocean. Two branch representatives, along with the incoming Hiking instructors, drove to the switch to meet the students. We brought mail and fresh food, plus news about the baseball playoffs and the US election.
One of my favorite things about attending a mid-course switch is seeing how the students have developed as a team. Watching them load canoes, working together cooperatively and communicating effectively, was inspiring and I took a lot of pictures.