Running up Trafalgar St carrying a large log was not the most relaxing way to spend a Saturday morning for groups of Nelson youth, but it was character building, Cactus programme team member Bronte Lovell said.
The Nelson College for Girls year 10 student was part of a team put through an endurance drill on Saturday, which ended the eight-week youth-focused programme.
The Cactus programme – an army-styled fitness scheme aimed at youth, attracted teams of students from Nelson College for Girls, Nelson College, Garin College and alternative education provider Youth Nelson to the eight-week course.
Saturday's event, The Longest Day, started at 7am with a fitness test at the girls' college gym before a squad run to Guppy Park. Team members then carried out an "equipment carry challenge" to Founders Heritage Park and from there carried a tyre up Davies Dr (Walter's Bluff).
Each team then carried a stretcher to the Centre of New Zealand, then picked up the log which they carried to the Church Steps.
A "police gear relay" at the steps required each to don a 2- kilogram police vest, before running to the top of the steps and back.
The teams then headed to the Nelson Fire Station for a "tower and hose challenge". The challenge ended at midday with a certificate presentation ceremony at the girls' college gym.
Bronte said, between attempts to catch her breath after the log run, that the course had been "really good".
"It's really hard carrying a log, but I've enjoyed getting to meet a whole lot of other young people I otherwise wouldn't have."
She said the point of the log exercise, like others required in Saturday's exercise, was communication.
Bronte, who does Seido karate, said the programme had really helped her karate training.
"It's just confidence-building, and being able to tell myself, `I can do this'."
Cactus programme volunteer Gavin Millar said recently that during the programme students were pushed hard, working in teams and as individuals to finish physical tasks and drills.
The programme was founded this year and the group which finished the course on Saturday was its second intake.
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