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Radio communication for school children’s hikes

27 November 2012

Radio communication for school children’s hikes

Queenstown school children will be safer while hiking, thanks to a $1580 grant received from the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT). The grant, given to Queenstown Primary School, has been used to purchase four Motorolla two-way radios, which will keep teachers and children in touch with each other during tramps and hikes.

There can be up to 150 children in each school hiking group, and radios are needed to ensure the leaders (who are typically children in year five or six), can contact the adults. This was proving a problem for the school’s older radios, which were not very powerful and didn’t have enough range for those at the front of the group to communicate with those at the back. This won’t be a problem for the new radios.

Mark Douglas, Queenstown Primary School’s Outdoor Education Programme Co-ordinator, says that some school hikes take eight hours or more, and can take place during unsavoury conditions, over difficult terrain. The school also organises overnight camps and, again, communication and safety are paramount during these trips.

“Reliable communication is very important and the new radios will help us achieve that,” says Mr Douglas. “During the next four weeks I am leading four school trips of around 150 children aged 5-12 years to Lake Alta at the top of the Remarkables ski field. There will be lots of snow and a wide spread from front to back, so good communication is necessary. The radios will be invaluable.

“There are also a number of other trips coming up – such as the group of 180 children climbing Ben Lomond in the middle of December – where the radios will be used. The staff will get a lot of use out of them,” he says.

Stephen Boock, NZCT Regional Advisory Committee chairperson, says NZCT was pleased to help, and is always mindful of putting money back into the community where it came from.

“We’re happy to be able to help fund this important safety equipment, which will allow young children to safely participate in outdoor recreation activities and adventures,” says Mr Boock. “We wish them luck with their upcoming adventures.”

NZCT is one of the largest funders of amateur sport in New Zealand and is proud of the contribution it makes to communities and sports across the country. NZCT grants help keep sport accessible and affordable for many thousands of Kiwis every year.

– Ends –

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