By Simon Heptonstall (Director) | Posted: Thursday November 21, 2013
January found the slightly courteous new students, quickly understanding that there was a little bit more to military marching and discipline. They soon opened their ears more than their mouths and got stuck into working together as a team in preparation for the 2 week induction course at Burnham military camp.
The last hour driving to Burnham for induction was the quietest I had ever experienced the Academy. I sensed apprehension of the unknown. We drove onto the camp and before the wheels had stopped turning, the shock of capture (as I would describe it) was obvious. The students were now property of the NZDF for 2 weeks and the only time they had control of was when their eyes were shut in bed. For some, these 2 weeks were a life changing event and for others the hardest thing they had ever done in their life. The formal military graduation of the Service Academies was well attended by proud parents, amazed by the changes they could see in their children. I as their Director was as proud as if they were my own children.
The next focus on return to Logan Park was Bushcraft skills. As in 2 months once again they were training with NZDF at Peel Forest. All aspects of outdoor skills and survival techniques were taught. Unfortunately after the first night of uncomfortable camping, three of the students decided the outdoors was not for them. This came as a surprise not just to me but the rest of the students as well. The hard shell of the testosterone fuelled young men was beginning to crack.
For the rest of the year the Academy focused on pushing the physical fitness of the students to their maximum capability, in readiness for the Coast To Coast adventure challenge run by NZDF. In conjunction with this, five students were selected for the basic leadership course and from those five, one was invited to attend the advance leadership course. Both of these courses were held at Burnham military camp and were designed to find the student who would be leading their Academy on the Coast To Coast event.
Academically the students have amazed themselves with what they can achieve in a year. All students completed NCEA Level 1 and some even achieved Level 2, with Merit in Maths. For a lucky two students, they have been awarded Otago Polytechnic scholarships to help them on their next educational journey.