When St Peter's Sea Scouts venturers set sail into the Hauraki Gulf, they weren't just looking to achieve their gold or silver venturer awards, they were also keeping an eye out for rubbish.
The group of 15-18-year-olds left for their four-day day sailing expedition last Friday (SUBS: December 7). The main purpose of the trip was for the 11 venturers to achieve their silver or gold venturer awards. However, each of the three cutters the venturers were manning had a rubbish bag at the ready so any marine debris could be scooped up when it was spotted.
The group did a practice trip to Kawau Island earlier this year, which coincided with Sea Week. To support Sea Week they collected rubbish out on the water during that trip, and decided they would do the same again this time.
St Peter's Scouts cub leader Anne Couper said the group needed to have a goal as part of the trip. "One is to explore a new environment and develop sailing skills, but in addition, it's also to make the group aware of their environment."
St Peter's Scouts Cub leader Anne Couper said the expedition was an opportunity for the venturers to understand more about the marine environment.
"They take the reins themselves and the adults are just there as a shadow party, and be there to help in an emergency."
She said the group's experience on the water was usually limited to that on Hamilton lake so an adventure as sea was particularly special. The adventure would see the venturers take responsibility for everything on the trip, from judging the sea conditions to cooking their own meals.
The group left from Buckland's Beach and sailed to Rangitoto where they climbed to the summit. They then sailed on to Motuihe Island where they stayed the night. The following day they sailed to Waiheke Island where they spent the night at the Scout Den, before heading on to Oponui Island for the last night of the trip.
Anne said the group enjoyed the Kawau trip immensely and were looking forward to this trip even more because it was for longer.
She said the group would learn about anchoring, time management, planning, and general life skills. "To get to this point they have undertaken a lot of training, they've learnt first aid, and plenty of outdoor skills. One of them has even done a day skipper course."
Anne said scouting was evolving. "We are aiming to become more relevant and current. Scouting offers a whole set of very relevant life skills that benefit both the individual youth and the community we live in, such as leadership, team work, responsibility, confidence building, as well as a wide range of practical skills. It's not all about tying knots as is often perceived - that is just one practical skill."
Anne said there was significant participation growth in Scouts, but "the constraint is getting enough leaders".