Use it or lose it – that's the blunt message from Ruakaka Scout Troop's Warren Bunn about the underused Ruakaka Scout den and grounds.
Bunn, a senior police constable, says if the troop can't maintain enough numbers, the New Zealand Scout Association could sell the land and buildings.
"We've had Auckland groups come and stay and they can't believe what we've got here." Bunn said.
"But if we can't keep it going, it will be sold. And if it's sold we would never be able to build something like this again. It would be a shame to lose it."
The Ruakaka troop is currently rallying for new members – the Scout troop for older children is in recess but Cubs (for 8 to 10-year-olds) is running and two new parents are keen to get a Keas club for 6 to 8-year-olds off the ground, and new leaders are always welcomed.
Bunn has been involved in the Ruakaka troop for 38 years. He now mentors and trains troop leaders and helps when needed.
The two-storey den sits on an acre of flat riverside land donated by a local farmer in the mid-1960s. The original den, the old North River School house, was transported to the property in 1965.
Bunn helped build the new den along with other parents in a 14-month series of working bees in 2001 and 2002.
"We had the right committee at the right time," Bunn said. "They had a real can-do attitude."
Now 15 years old, the building is due for maintenance and is slowly being worked on by current parents.
The den and grounds are a great facility, Bunn says, but sit empty most of the time. As well as seeing more groups of children enjoying the benefits of Scouting, he would also like community groups to use it.
"Someone even suggested having a wedding here, that might be okay. Perhaps not 21st parties though."
Hiring the building out would help with running costs, rates and insurance bills and Scouting affiliation fees.
The den has a large open room, two breakout rooms, a large kitchen, deck area, bathrooms and storage areas.
Kayaks are stored in another building by the river. Children fish or jump off the jetty in summer and the large flat grass area is ideal for camping.
Scouting has many benefits, Bunn says, including learning new skills, independence, trying new things in a safe environment, camps, day trips, activities, friendship.
"As the kids get older, they can learn new technical practical skills, and leadership. At the end of the day it's about kids having fun in a safe environment."
If your children want to give Keas or Cubs a go, or you would like to know more about becoming a leader, call Bunn on 4327483.
Bright celebration for Ruakaka support staff
Ruakaka School celebrated its support staff last week with a Bright Day – staff and students dressed up in bright colours for a day to acknowledge the contribution support staff make to their school.
Ruakaka's Special Education needs co-ordinator Jo Irvine says the national Support Staff day was two weeks earlier.
"But we had to wait until we were back in our staffroom again for our celebration," she said. "We didn't want to all be squeezed into a portacom."
Ruakaka School staff members have been taking their breaks in a portacom for the past few months while the staffroom was used as a classroom until last week when the school's new classroom opened.
"We chose Wednesday for our celebration because it's a day when they all work, so everybody is here."
Irvine says the day recognises the work that all support people do.
"They do the hardest work," Irvine said. "They shine at our school every day – they go above and beyond all the time."
Irvine says there are just as many support staff as teachers at the school. The school held a morning tea for support staff and Irvine read a poem she wrote for them, ending with the lines "Your kind hearts and smiling face make our school such a bright place. Thank you for shining."
Otamatea produces Into the Woods
Several Bream Bay performers take on starring roles as Otamatea Repertory Theatre ventures Into the Woods with its next production.
Sam Birchall plays Jack, of Jack and the Beanstalk; Liam McCollum is the steward, Lizzie Carroll-Thom is the witch, husband Steve Thom is the mysterious man and Kallen Brooks-Owens is Rapunzel's Prince.
Directed by Peter Flower, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the Broadway musical written by James Lapine blends the plots of several fairytales with humour and singing, exploring the consequences of the characters' wishes and quests.
The main characters are taken from Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and Cinderella, and the musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family.
Ray Palmer, orchestral director for the ORT production, is very excited to be involved as the theatre will use a cutting-edge orchestral suite, the latest in interactive-musical technology, as accompaniment.
The show opens July 14 and runs for eight shows, winding up on July 29. Tickets are available at www.ort.org.nz or at Tony's Lotto Shop in Maungaturoto (adults $28, school students $15).
Make the most of the opening weekend special – buy four tickets (including one adult) for a 20 per cent discount (only available at Tony's Lotto Shop or contact Maura 022 354 2670).
For the entire season, groups of 10 people will receive 10 per cent discount (not available through online sales).
■ Email Julie Paton at email@example.com if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.