Journeys programme making strides

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New adventures are in store for young girls keen on Central Otago’s great outdoors.
The programme Journeys, which allows girls in years 8-10 a chance to explore Alexandra on foot and by bike, has been under development during lockdown.

It was launched as a pilot programme two summers ago and, due to its success, continued in term 1 of the school year.
That success has continued but due to Covid-19, the programme was put on hold.
Young girls and their instructors have since used that time wisely to discuss how the programme could be further developed.

Journeys co-founder Megan Longman said Zoom meetings had been hosted with girls and instructors over recent weeks to understand what personal attributes they valued.

As soon as the group is allowed, it will begin an On Foot Journeys programme.
“We are going to adventure at dusk and after dark in the local wild places, which are fun to explore by walking and running — learning about navigation, route-finding and taking care of ourselves in the outdoors,” Ms Longman said.

The group has a team of 10 female instructors, who plan to take part in further training sessions when lockdown ends, including a tailored first aid course.
“We do have a little capacity for more local girls to register for the upcoming On Foot Journeys, and for later in the year when we will mountain bike again – especially [for] year 9 and 10 [girls].”

The programme’s most recent intake, affected by Covid-19, comprised 27 girls in years 8-10 from Alexandra and Clyde schools.
They were supported by six instructors during rides along the River Track, Boot Hill, the Airport Tracks and Rock Garden.

Ms Longman said there had been many highlights, including sharing of kai and girls taking turns to bake for the group.
She said the girls had also started taking ownership of the rides and were building on their bike skills, including braking and body position, all just within a few weeks.
– To find out more, visit journeys.org.nz