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Navy commandeered by kids at camp

Navy commandeered by kids at camp

Fourteen crew members of the HMNZS Canterbury were this morning put to a day's hard physical labour by children at the Glenelg Children's Health Camp.

The Navy will replace the aging playground at the Camp with brand new equipment in just one day, in a project organised by Volunteering Canterbury.

"This is a fantastic project that will make a real difference to the children at camp and we are so grateful to the Navy for donating their time and labour," said Glenelg Project Manager Helen Chappell.

"Replacing this playground in one day will be an enormous job and it will have to be all hands on deck all day if the job is to be done. The children have been looking forward to this visit and are keen to pitch in too."

Ms Chappell said the children were particularly grateful to the Navy as a small switchboard fire on the Canterbury meant the ship was unable to dock at Lyttleton Port and the crew had traveled in order to complete the project.

Children's Health Camps have operated in New Zealand since 1919 and, since then, around 250,000 children - or six per cent of the population - have attended a Camp.

Around 2,500 children across the country every year are referred for a five week stay at a Health Camp. Referred children are typically some of country's most vulnerable and disadvantaged with conditions ranging from hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders through to mental illnesses and difficulties forming relationships with peers.

"Children's Health Camps have come a long way since 1919 and are now a critical part of the social fabric. Our work with young people is based on the latest international research and is evidence-based and closely measured," said Ms Chappell.

"We are achieving the most outstanding results with young people and their families. Children coming to Camp are turning their lives around and leaving with confidence and the skills and resiliency they need to cope."

Ms Chappell said the playground played a strong role in helping children build confidence, identify skills and abilities, develop relationships with peers and maintain a healthy body.

"Above all, the playground is about children having fun and we are delighted to have such strong support from the Royal New Zealand Navy in revitalising our playground.

"The efforts of the Canterbury crew - while no doubt exhausting - will make a significant and ongoing difference to the Glenelg Camp and the children that come here."

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