Ex-Opihi student enjoys Berwick experience

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 05:00 03/06/2014
timaru john loomes opihi
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OUTDOOR FUN: John Loomes mountain bikes while on camp.

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A love of tramping and the outdoors was discovered while at the Berwick Outdoor Experience camp.

Former Opihi College deputy head boy John Loomes considered himself more a "stay inside kind of dude," until he attended the week long course at Berwick Forest Lodge, south of Dunedin.

The course is run by the Lions Club. Schools are asked to recommend "worthy students" to take part.

John was nominated for the camp by Opihi College principal Mike Wright, who said he had a wonderful caring nature.

The 18-year-old said the camp was a test not only physically, but mentally, which he wasn't prepared for.

Although he isn't allowed to reveal much about the camp, in order to keep it a secret for future participants, activities included abseiling, kayaking and sports nights.

His favourite aspect of the camp was meeting people when they were at their worst, instead of normally when they may be putting a front on.

There were around 35 participants at the camp aged between 18 to 62, all from different backgrounds. Everyone was spilt into groups called "watches". John was happy with the people in his watch as they all jelled together.

He was also surprised that the 62-year-old could handled the course.

"My group, filled with 20-year-olds found it tough."

During the camp the quote "Respect yourself enough to complete to success," helped him through the hard times.

John also discovered a love of tramping, which he hopes to pass on to his brother. He is now working and saving up to go on a trip to Europe next year, after which he will return to study social work.

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- The Timaru Herald

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