It has quickly earned a reputation as the ultimate team challenge for Year 9 and 10 students across New Zealand.
The Get2Go Challenge is an outdoor sports event which is organised and hosted by the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre. The series has been running since 2007 with 12 events in regions across the country.
Around 1600 students go through the regional events each year and more than 11,000 participants in total have taken part.
The regional events are one-day qualifiers for teams of eight students who undertake challenges such as orienteering, mountain biking, kayaking, rock climbing and team problem solving.
Danielle Goodall, a Year 10 student (Form 4) from Thames High, took part last year and helped her team win the Waikato event and then went on to compete in the final.
She is back again this year and described the team's challenge as the "highlight of my year".
"It provides an opportunity to experience once-in-a-lifetime events that you would not usually do," she said.
"It pushes us to our physical and mental limits while at the same time, we are having one of the best times of our lives. I got to know other like-minded people who I still keep in contact with now and also have a close bond with my teammates."
Goodall said winning the Waikato event was a huge achievement for a small school like Thames High School.
"During the day of the competition, you have no idea how you're going against other teams. So to find out that we had won after weeks of suspense was incredible. The whole school got behind us and was really stoked with our win."
Darren Ashmore, the Events Manager for the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre, said the Get2Go is "all about participation, but has a serious competitive element".
The winning mixed team from each of the 12 regions gets invited to attend the Get2Go national final at the OPC Marine Centre on Great Barrier Island in December.
The final is a five-day long outdoor adventure race style event.
The students take on a wide variety of land- and sea-based challenges, including activities likes sailing, sea kayaking, orienteering, trail running, rope work, problem-solving initiatives, an overnight expedition race and raft building.
"It is a serious undertaking for the teams that get invited, with the national title on the line so they all work very hard to score the most points they can in each of the challenges they face."
Ashmore said it has been hugely rewarding seeing the personal growth in young New Zealanders.
Several athletes have been inspired to go on to represent New Zealand at major international competitions in orienteering, mountain biking and indoor rock climbing.
Ashmore believed that participation in sport is vitally important to the physical, social and mental development of young people.
"When you take largely individual outdoor sports like these and put them into a team context and blend in elements of outdoor education you actually end up with a unique and special learning experience."
Self-confidence is enhanced through the mastery of the physical skills and an increase in fitness.
"They get tougher, more organised, manage their time better and increase their self-awareness as a result of the experience. Then, on a team level, you start to see growth in areas like communication, decision-making, problem-solving, planning, goal-setting, trust and leadership."
Danielle has used her experience of the Get2Go to improve her orienteering skills and was recently named in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Orienteering team.
"I'm honoured to be able to represent our country and the people who have helped me to achieve my goal in the sport I love.
"So many individuals have helped to get me to this stage and I know that I would not have been given this opportunity without them."
At the end of September the NZ Secondary Schools team will compete against Australia for the Southern Cross Challenge, as part of the Australian Orienteering Championships in Perth.
But first of all, Danielle wants to get Waikato to the national final again.
A total of 96 students every year experience the national final. The students have three months to train, fund-raise, develop skills and teamwork before the final. "It is a tough event physically and mentally and we do try and stretch the students," said Ashmore.
"In many ways it is the passion and competitive intensity that they bring to the island that really makes it so special.
"Without fail they always push themselves further than they ever thought they could and leave the island as stronger, more confident kids as a result of the experience."
August 12: Northland
August 14: Auckland/Counties Manukau
August 19: Manawatu/Wanganui
August 21: Hawkes Bay
August 26: Waikato
August 28: Taranaki
September 9: Wellington
September 12: Nelson/Tasman
September 15: Canterbury
September 17: Otago/Southland
December 8-12: Grand final - Great Barrier Island
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