RIVER RAPIDS: A highlight of the camping trip was a float down the river through rapids in tyre tubes. Photo supplied

A GROUP of young men learned plenty of survival skills and gained life experience during a camp this summer.

Fourteen boys aged between 14 and 18 attended the survivor boot camp organised by Matata Blue Light at the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park at Minginui.

Co-ordinator Kevin Raynes said the teenagers endured three nights at a hut without power and cell phone coverage.

The camp was run in partnership with the Department of Conservation, based on the idea of teenagers stepping out of their comfort zones.

“It was about introducing them to alternatives to Fortnite and other social media addictions,” he said.

“At first it was a challenge for them because no-one had experienced anything like the camp before. They adapted to the conditions quite well and there was no mention of Wi-Fi or Fortnite.”

Mr Raynes said the boys were separated into groups and they had to perform tasks, like eating huhu grubs, and participate in competitions.

Prizes for the winners included a hot shower, luxury food items and cans of coke.

There was a communication and listening task, setting a hinaki to catch eels and helping a Department of Conservation ranger.

“Every morning they went out with a member of DoC to clear tracks, set traps and learn about the environment, DoC rangers and what they did and why.”

Mr Raynes said there were several night time activities including stories around a camp fire, a Burma trail and spotlight.

“My police skills won that game because I wasn’t found, and the Burma trail was highlighted by seeing glow worms.”

But the most enjoyed activity was the group floating down the river for up to five kilometres through rapids in tyre tubes.

Camp for the girls coming

MATATA Blue Light will host another camp – but for girls.

The camp will take place at the Whirinaki Te Pua-a-Tane Conservation Park from Sunday, February 17 until Tuesday, February 19.

If you are interested in taking part in the camp, are at high school and are from the Matata and Rangitaki Plains areas, express your interest through private message to the Matata Blue Light Facebook page.