A chance to take part in a range of exciting outdoor activities, engaging in community service and personal development is a reality for Ohakune School, National Park School, Waiouru School, Raetihi School, Ngamatea School, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Ngati Rangi and Orautoha School as they take part in the William Pike Challenge Award (WPCA) this year. These students will join 1600 others from nearly 60 schools across the nation as they embark on the WPCA.

Over this year, these young people will be participating in six outdoor activities, 20 hours of community service and personally develop a new sport or hobby in order to gain the award. These experiences will give students adventurous opportunities and challenging first hand experiences to develop life skills, knowledge and awareness of their community.

The WPCA provides schools with year 7-9 students and community groups with support, resources and motivation to facilitate youth development. Resources include an online management tool for teachers and online record book for students. Students also receive ongoing inspiration and education during this year long programme.

“This is going to be a very special evening in lots of ways. To be standing on the foot of the mountain that nearly took my life and to have the opportunity to share that story and to empower students to overcome, embrace and manage challenges in their everyday lives will surely be a night to remember” says Pike. “The WPCA encourages kiwi kids to embrace new challenges, enjoy the great outdoors, engage with their community and interact with positive role models” said Pike. “These opportunities will further connect these young people with local people and places within their community, to grow and develop them as individuals, and to prepare them for whatever life throws at them” adds Pike.

“All the schools in our Ruapehu Cluster Group are really looking forward to running the WPCA this year. This programme will offer our students an exciting pathway for Education Outside the Classroom and the Health and Physical Education learning area. The establishment of positive, collaborative connections across home, school, peer and community life is one of the many outcomes we look forward to.” said Jane Welburn, Principal, National Park School.

The WPCA provides youth, their families and the wider community a tool which not only strengthens the communities they live in, but enables young people to grow and become empowered through challenging new experiences and opportunities while learning valuable life lessons.

William knows firsthand the value of being prepared for facing obstacles. He was one of two young climbers caught in a volcanic eruption on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, in 2007. Pike suffered numerous life threatening injuries, and as a result, his right leg was amputated below the knee, needing extensive recovery and rehabilitation. By adopting a positive attitude and thinking with All Passion No Limits, William was once again, able to embrace his love of the outdoors and develop this award which he now passes on to a new generation of Kiwi kids through the WPCA.