Strong community and business support allowed Camp Bentzon to officially open a swag of new and upgraded facilities this month.
The outdoor education centre on Kawau Island now boasts a new wharf, upgraded tracks, a Polaris Ranger off-road vehicle and even an observatory for budding astronomers.
At the opening, Camp Bentzon Trust board chair Richard Boyle thanked supporters for the numerous ways they had helped the camp become what it is today.
This included building bridges, clearing tracks, technical support, donation of materials, financial support and donation of time.
He said the goal of the camp was to inspire young people to reach their full potential.
“It’s where youths from all over New Zealand can experience challenges to enable them to grow and become valuable members of society,” he said.
He added that reading the heart-warming letters from children who wrote telling of their experiences at the camp made his job as chair worthwhile.
Grace Fordyce, 10, in a kayak.
Peter Hyde with the Polaris Ranger.
Richard also paid tribute to camp managers Peter and Erin Hyde.
He said being based on an island, Peter and Erin were obliged to be self-sufficient in a huge range of roles, such as bookkeepers, instructors, cleaners, painters, builders, glaziers, gardeners, landscapers, tree fellers, duck vets, plumbers, electricians, drainlayers, firemen and ‘shoulders to cry on’.
Among the guests at the event was David Little, president of Warkworth Lions.
He said the Lions had been organising working bees at the camp every year for the last 30 years.
“It’s a nice thing to be involved with. Everybody works hard all day and has a few laughs,” he said.
The camp has 120 beds and hosts about 6 000 young people each year.