A charity is encouraging more teenage girls to explore the Central Otago wilderness by holding a ‘‘Have-a-Go’’ evening on Monday.
Journeys is an Alexandrabased outdoor adventure programme offered to girls between years 8 and 13, run in a female-only environment.
The organisation runs two 12-week programmes, a mountainbike season in summer and an on-foot season in winter.
Co-founder and programme manager Megan Longman said the ‘‘Have-a-Go’’ evening on Monday was for girls in years 11 to 13, to give them an idea of the programme.
‘‘We [will] give older teen girls a taste of Journeys.
‘‘It’s about having fun, being together while they move their bodies,’’ she said.
The evening would involve walking, rock scrambling and exploring in the hills around Alexandra.
Ms Longman said while good numbers of younger girls took part, the programme had an increased focus on recruiting older teenage girls.
‘‘Frequently the [number of] girls coming gets less with jobs and school work.’’
She acknowledged while it might be challenging to establish a programme that worked for older girls, Journeys’ adaptable nature meant programmes could be customised to their needs and wants.
Ms Longman said the programme was focused on hauora, a Maori philosophy of health.
Hauora covered four aspects of health: physical, mental, family and spiritual.
‘‘It’s hard to have a programme that works for older girls but we feel confident that with working with the girls we can create something to benefit their hauora.’’
She said the programme had evolved as participants had got older.
The programme was established in 2019 by Ms Longman, Kim Froggatt and Penny Smale after they identified a need within the community for more girls to have opportunities to explore the outdoors.
After a successful pilot in 2019, the programme achieved charitable status and became the Journeys Charitable Trust in 2020.
Ms Longman said Journeys was also looking for more instructors to lead girls in the outdoors.
The volunteers did not have to be expert outdoorswomen, but did have to be enthusiastic about working with young women and getting into nature, she said.
Journeys would pay for new instructors to receive first aid training as well as other guidance on, among other things, working with youth, outdoors safety and mountainbike skills, Ms Longman said.
The role also benefited the hauora of the instructor.
‘‘It’s a privilege to get to know these young women and getting to go on adventures with them,’’ she said.
Details and registration for the ‘‘Have-a-Go’’ evening is at www.journeys.org.nz.