The William Pike Challenge Award elements

The three elements of the William Pike Challenge Award are Outdoor Activities, Community Service and Passion Projects. They provide exciting opportunities for our youth to step outside of their comfort zone and develop and strengthen vital universal life skills. Here we explain more about each element and how they help prepare our youth to overcome challenge and change.

WPCA kids looking up at a rock climbing wall

All of us, but particularly our kids, are stepping into a rapidly and dramatically changing world, like nothing we’ve ever seen before. We, and particularly they, will be challenged by unexpected changes and obstacles in life that we probably can’t yet imagine.

When big challenge and change come  from out of the blue, succeeding or failing comes down to just one thing: whether you’re already used to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone – or whether you aren’t. And that’s where the William Pike Challenge Award comes in.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor Activities provide opportunities for students to step outside of their comfort zone, to take risks, build confidence and strengthen relationships with peers. Studies have shown that spending time in nature improves people’s mental wellbeing by lifting their mood and decreasing feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Investing in our youths mental health means they’re more prepared to overcome challenge and change that will inevitably come their way. Outdoor Activities not only build universal life skills and an explorer mindset, they also remind our youth about the beauty and accessibility of New Zealand’s landscape. 

Students are required to do five Outdoor Activities that are offsite, more than 2 hours long and challenging in nature. The most impactful youth development takes place over a long period of time, and we recommend that Outdoor Activities are spread out throughout the school year. 

Community Service

Community Service or voluntary work, allows students to explore, develop and strengthen empathy, humility and compassion. Universal life skills many students may not have had the opportunity to untap. Doing unpaid work and giving back to the community also provides opportunities for students to step outside of their comfort zone, develop communication skills, connectedness with the local community, peers and whānau and embrace a greater sense of purpose.

The 20 hours of Community Service can be done as a school group in school hours or as individual students. Many students continue to do voluntary work well after they’ve completed the William Pike Challenge Award; those feel-good feelings are hard to shake off!

Passion Projects

Passion Projects are a sport or hobby that’s totally new to the student. Passion Projects encourage students to take on a challenge, to build self belief, work ethic, capability and connectedness with peers. Trying something new and working hard to master it develops determination, concentration and resilience.

The 20 hours of Passion Projects is usually done in the students own time, however, activities offered by the school, like a language or sport can be attributed to Passion Project hours.

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