NZSP Division 2 (Waikato)

Serving the Children of the World®

An account of some Kamp Kiwanis impressions and activities over the years

Kamp Kiwanis - A NZSP Division 2 Project

Written by Bette Eavestaff, Kiwanis Club of Kirikiriroa.

Monday, May 9th, 1994 saw the first Kamp Kiwanis being held by Division 2 of the New Zealand - South Pacific district of Kiwanis International.  It was run by experienced Kiwanians, who between them had a wealth of knowledge and understanding to offer the children concerned.

The Kamp was held at the YMCA Headquarters in the Pureora Forest.  Children came from as far away as Wellington, Palmerston North, Rotorua, Hamilton and south Waikato.  A total of 39 boys and girls assembled at Robert Lynd's workshop at Putaruru to start the journey for Kamp.  After an hour travelling on sealed roads, they moved onto a two lane, gravel, heavily cambered mountain goat track where for 100 years, light appeared never to have penetrated.  Another three quarters of an hour later, the bus finally lurched to a halt at the top of a steep grade and the children began to alight.  Full credit went to Ross Paterson, whose police driving skills obviously paid off.

Girls and boys were quickly divided and shown to their accommodation quarters.  The camp was surrounded by native bush and streams and the main accommodation consisted of two A-framed buildings capable of sleeping 50 people with a separate leader's room, cooking room and a recreation hall nearby.  The ablution block had showers in both mens and ladies and hot water was provided by a large wood burner.  Lighting was provided in all facilities by a petrol generator.

In amongst the native bush there was a 20-obstacle confidence course and a swimming pool area.  Day trips were organised.  One was an hour and a half each way to the summit of Mt. Tiraupenga.  Everyone survived this trek.  A Kamp that most will not forget - the wood burning range and gas burning burners had to be seen to be believed.

Basketball with Bette and kids

A scene from the 2004 Kamp Kiwanis. Kamp Leader Bette Eavestaff can be seen in the center of the picture showing the kids her basketball moves.

Kamp Kiwanis Number 1 was a huge success.  The T-shirts adorned with the signatures of friendships made had by this time been given out.  The Kamp organisation committee gratefully acknowledged all the assistance and sponsored goods which were provided to make this first Kamp successful.

The following three Kamps have been held at Ngatuhoa Lodge which is situated in the Kaimai Ranges.  It is 20 kilometers drive from the McLarens Falls on the way to Tauranga.  This we have found to have wonderful facilities and a lot more activities.  We try to have approximately 40 children as we can cope with this many.  The 1997 Kamp was the biggest Kamp ever with 47 children in total.  In the future, we will look at taking no more than 40 in order to run the Kamp successfully.

The children come from all walks of life and they make new friends and experience opportunities that they would never have had.  One outing is doing a 12 kilometer hike to a fantastic waterfall and then walking back along the river.  We have abseiling, canoeing, swimming and many more activities.  One of the saddest things is when we are all packed up and ready to go home and everyone has to say goodbye to their new found friends.  Seeing them fighting back a few tears made it clear just why we run Kamp Kiwanis.  These young people are mostly from families that would find it hard to send their kids on any sort of camp.  One girl came from a family of NINE children.  Her mother was 33 years old.

A tribute goes to all of the Kiwanis leaders who go to these Kamps.  Without them, there would never be a Kamp.  They give up their valuable time and effort to make it successful. The week is never long enough.  They all survived Kamp Kiwanis and look forward to the next one.

Bette Eavestaff
1995/99 Kamp Kiwanis chairperson