Board paves way for outdoor experience

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Proposing a challenge . . . Berwick Outdoor Experience convener Rob Urquhart leaves the Downes Room after speaking at a Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board meeting last week. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

The Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board has offered to pay the entry fee to get one of its constituents “outside their comfort zone”.

Berwick Outdoor Experience convener Rob Urquhart spoke at a board meeting in Mosgiel last week about the experience, held annually since 1991 including between May 10 and 18 this year.

After having an informal chat with board chairwoman Sarah Davie-Nitis earlier in the week, he decided to attend the board meeting to ask members to launch an annual project, which would financially support a person from the Mosgiel-Taieri area to attend the “challenging and life-changing experience” this year.

People completing the experience were “pushed outside their comfort zone”.

They would face and overcome fears by completing tasks such as abseiling 36m down Mahinerangi dam, kayaking, mountain biking, rafting and camping “under canvas”.

Despite the experience being “full of fun, friendship and laughter” the participants were “not there for a holiday”.

Each experience – based at Berwick Forest Lodge – was limited to 40 people and participants had to be aged 18 or older. The instructors on the experience were volunteers. Nearly 1100 people had completed the challenge since it opened. The course costs $550 per person.

Dunedin City Councillor Mike Lord congratulated Mr Urquhart on his work.

Mr Urquhart said people volunteered to be part of the experience because “we enjoy it and because of what we get out of it”.

Board member Martin Dillon moved the board give the experience $550 so at least one person from the Mosgiel-Taieri area could attend the experience this year.

Every member voted in favour.