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Grow through adventure

Photo of landscape in Waikato

Published: November 8, 2023

Our Waikato Whetū Marewa team has launched their new adventure therapy programme called Grow Through Adventure.

The programme is for taiohi aged 14-18 who experience anxiety, low self-esteem and are potentially isolated from their friends and community groups. It was created by the team’s occupational therapist and uses outdoor adventure activities to help develop understanding of mental resolve, self-regulation skills, and empathetic understanding. Taiohi learn how the limits they place on themselves are self-imposed, that they have untapped skills and resiliency which far exceeds their expectations.

The first programme was launched with a group of six wāhine who were all facing a variety of challenges around their mental wellbeing, making everyday life activities challenging.

Over six weeks they went on adventures such as rock climbing, paddle boarding, mountain biking, surfing, walking up Wairere Falls and walking the Pinnacles. Along the way they learnt about regulating emotions in challenging situations; being present in the moment; respect and appreciation for nature; the power of mindset; trusting themselves and others and listening to their instincts; as well as experiencing reflection and growth.

We saw taiohi building on their strengths, overcoming their fears, challenging themselves and growing together as a group. After the programme, some returned to school, started a new course, got management jobs, and found new interests. Together, the wāhine grew through adventure.

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