Enriching lives through Living Springs
Many Christchurch residents will have fond memories of pillow fights, monorails and more, from attending a school camp at Living Springs.
The camp has operated on Banks Peninsula since the 1970s and continues to enrich the lives of5000 young people a year through its inclusive school, youth and Ecocamps.
However, it’s less well known that the Living Springs experience is also available to adults through the comprehensive range of corporate team-building and retreat packages they offer.
An accessible twenty-five minutes from Christchurch, Living Springs’ bush clad surroundings and peaceful harbour views provide an ideal environment in which to relax and recharge.
Wendy Duggan, a member of the camp’s senior leadership team, believes this inspiring setting is what really sets the venue apart.
“We see people at their best here. A strong sense of community develops from being together and connecting in such a beautiful place.”
The centre’s executive chef offers catering options ranging from formal banquets to casual barbeques, and can meet dietary requirements such as vegan, halal or gluten-free.
Accommodation is in warm, comfortable rooms ranging from shared bunkrooms to twins and doubles.
In addition to designing a suitable accommodation and catering package, Living Springs’ staff can contribute to the planning and delivery of retreat programmes, link organisations with independent business mentors, or provide staff to lead outdoor team-building activities.
Archery tag is one fun, popular option that allows participation regardless of fitness level.
“Businesses know about the importance of wellbeing, but here they get to put those ideas into practice,” says Wendy.
“They can leave the pressures and responsibilities of a corporate environment behind, and just have fun.”
She acknowledges that some of the activities challenge people to go beyond their comfort zone, and that for some, even the prospect of communal living can be challenging.
“But we see people’s self-esteem develop because of that. “They achieve things they can feel really proud of here.”
These personal rewards can be paid forward through Living Springs’ AorangiSponsorship programme.
This initiative funds vulnerable communities within the greater Christchurch region to access opportunities that many take for granted.
For example, some children attending the Aorangi camps have never seen the sea before, despite living in a coastal region.
Wendy says she repeatedly sees how life changing the camp experience can be for these children. “Their experiences may have been very limited,” she says.
”This is a chance to expand their world, as well as their confidence.”
Living Springs creates strong relationships between schools and sponsors, and in many cases these connections last for years.
Sponsors attend school assemblies to meet the children their funding will benefit, and children send thank you cards to share their experiences.
Wendy believes the relationships created by the Aorangi programme have real meaning for the sponsors, as well as for the children.
“For many people, their love of outdoor adventure started at school camp. They get the chance to pass that love on to a new generation.”
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