camp-adair-safety-nz-dadsYMCA Auckland have won the Visitor Solutions Outstanding Event Award at the New Zealand Recreation Association Outdoor Awards on September 1st, proving that their focus on developing strong families has been recognised at a national level.

The Outstanding Event award recognises the significant contribution made to outdoor recreation and adventure tourism in New Zealand. This has been won by YMCA Auckland for their Family Camp initiative. This event gives families a chance to step away from their normal life and connect over a weekend at one of YMCA Auckland’s premier outdoor facilities, where accommodation, catering and activities are provided for the whole family. The programme is fully funded by YMCA Auckland and families from Auckland and Hamilton are able to take part.

Launched in 2014, the programme has run twice a year at YMCA Camp Adair in the Hunua Ranges. The 2015/2016 summer season saw 26 families – 137 campers in total – take part in the Family Camp experience, with many more families gearing up to do the same this coming November.

According to the Visitor Solutions representative, Gordan Cessford, YMCA Auckland was chosen for the award because, “For many children, the first experiences they have in the outdoors are with their families, and this event serves as a positive introduction to outdoor experiences that also encourages parents to get active in the outdoors.”

YMCA Auckland were also finalists for the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council Organisational Excellence Award.

Families involved in Family Camp take part in a range of high-octane activities, from zooming down a mudslide, and conquering their fears on a high ropes course, to spending quality time creating a family crest or relaxing/singing around the campfire.

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Photo Credited to Torrie Hazelwood

It is targeted at families who may not otherwise have the opportunity to access the outdoors, and focuses on bringing them together to build lasting memories, all as a way to strengthen family bonds in a beautiful outdoor environment. For many participants, it’s the first family holiday they have been able to have, and it’s had a “huge impact” on every member of the family.

“We’re thrilled that Family Camp’s contribution to the community has been recognised,” says Lee Vaughan, YMCA Auckland’s Camp Adair Manager. “At YMCA Auckland we’re passionate about building strong families, strong kids and strong communities – and Family Camp is just one of the ways that we go about fulfilling that mission!”

To find out more or apply for the next Family Camp, visit ymcaauckland.org.nz/familycamp

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