Teen plans energetic fundraiser

JAMES GREENLAND
Last updated 12:41 24/04/2013

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Ben Seelen, sick of sausage sizzles and car wash fundraisers, is embracing the spirit of adventure to raise money for an ocean voyage next month.

The 16-year-old Nayland College student is gearing up for a 10-day excursion on the Spirit of Adventure sailing ship, but before he can hit the high seas he must raise $2000 to cover his costs.

Instead of trying the usual old methods, such as barbecues and cleaning cars, Ben has committed to completing a 10-hour-challenge that will see him mountainbike the Coppermine, run up the Centre of New Zealand, kayak from Wakefield Quay to Rabbit Island, then cycle to the ASB aquatic centre where he will swim 100 lengths of the pool.

Those traditional fundraisers were "a lot of hard work for $3 per hour", Ben reckoned.

"It's something a bit different.

"It will definitely be a big challenge," he said, and although it would not be a "walk in the park" he was quietly confident.

He said the self-imposed challenge was designed to have an "out of Nelson feel", making it a "bigger adventure".

Ben has been a member of the Nelson Surf Lifesaving Club for six years and describes himself as pretty fit, and "ocean-based".

He is not worried about completing the 70km-plus challenge in time - he has given himself one hour for every day of sailing - but hopes to generate enough attention to help him pay his bills.

Happy to pimp out advertising on his racing T-shirt to the highest corporate bidder, Ben said he would produce a "highlights" video of the challenge to give to sponsors. Any other financial help would be gratefully received, he said.

Nayland College teacher Sam Maitland, who has encouraged Ben to join the Spirit of Adventure youth development voyage, believed there was "massive value" in the Kiwi adventure courses.

"It can be quite a life-changing experience for kids this age," he said.

Challenges on board the boat would include team-building exercises, early-morning ocean swims, night sailing and high rope climbing among the ship's rigging.

Mr Maitland said Ben was a quiet leader who led by example, from the front. He hoped the voyage would hone the year 12 student's leadership skills.

Weather and tides permitting, Ben will embark on his 10-hour-challenge on May 1.

His ocean voyage sets sail from Auckland on May 17.

Anyone interested in supporting Ben's fundraiser go to: facebook.com/10hourchallengenelsonnz/info.

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- The Nelson Mail

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