Getting kids outdoors a life 'calling'

By Amy Shanks

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Manager of the Kiwi Adventure Trust, David Tait, says it's his mission to work with youth.

1 What drew you to working with youth?

I enjoy working with youth as I feel it is my opportunity to positively impact the world. By working with young people, I get to impact this generation to better the next. I did not choose the work, the work chose me, as I truly believe that is the reason I am here. It is my calling and I can't imagine doing anything else.

2 What's the most rewarding part of your job?

For me there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person grow, and the outdoors is a great vehicle to grow people.

3 What exciting events have you got coming up at the Kiwi Adventure Trust?

We are excited to be involved in the Staples Rodway Challenge as it is great event and is supporting the Dingle Foundation. I am also excited to be offering a Grade 2 multisport kayaking course this year in Hawke's Bay, as I love teaching people to paddle kayaks and love seeing people take on big hairy goals such as the Coast to Coast.

4 Given the advent of social media, are kids now less keen to get involved in outdoor pursuits?

I think we face a real challenge in regards to getting kids out doing stuff as the digital world is very attractive. There is at the same time an explosion in interest in some kids to get out doing "hard stuff" like adventure racing and we need make sure we keeping giving kids the opportunity to do outdoor recreation. We have seen an increase of young women who are doing outdoor recreation and adventure sports. It is a bigger challenge to get boys off digital devices and it is a battle that I as a parent face, too.

5 If you could name your most respected Kiwi adventure racer, who would it be?

That is a hard question as I respect anyone that takes on major challenges and personally know many of the icons of the sport, but I would have to say I respect Kathy Lynch - she was so uncompromising and achieved a lot in the sport. She won five Coast to Coast longest day races between 1991 and 1996, and representing New Zealand on the bike at the 1990 Commonwealth Games and 1996 Olympics. She was fearless, tough and uncompromising.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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