Adventure pushes limits

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In the second week of the April school holidays, South Otago High School sports prefect Kasey Valli attended the Lions Club Youth Leadership Course in Fiordland. She took time out of her busy term 2 schedule to share her experience with the

Clutha Leader.

I applied for the course because I thought it would help my confidence in my role at school, and felt lucky Owaka Lions gave me the scholarship to attend.

I was putting myself completely out of my comfort zone — learning new leadership skills and meeting new people. I’ve never been so nervous to walk into a room full of people, knowing I’d be spending the coming week with them.

An amazing team from Adventure Southland looked after us at Borland Lodge near Monowai.

Every day they kept us busy climbing, abseiling, canyoning, kayaking and caving — rare and exciting experiences — and it was all so much fun.

For the last days it was our group’s turn on the three›day tramp.

On day one we spent five hours walking into Green Lake before stopping in the middle of the bush to do Covid tests.

Three of us tested positive and had to walk out with an instructor to go home.

The rest of us got to camp and I have never been so cold in my life; three layers top and bottom, gloves and a hat still wasn’t cutting it.

We survived the night and then came the decision it wasn’t safe for our group to risk getting sick in the bush over the next couple days.

We made our way back to Borland Lodge for our last night and ended up pretty thankful to have beds under a roof as the weather turned out shocking.

When it was time to pack up and go home, we found out how close our group had become, which made leaving bittersweet but super cool at the same time.

For me the most valuable lesson was meeting and making friends with so many new people.

I’d known that would be the best take away from the trip even though I was super nervous about it, and my parents say they’ve noticed the change in my confidence.

That’s what I wanted, and it definitely worked.

I’m really grateful to Owaka Lions — Igot to make good friends with awesome people and would definitely do the trip over and over again.