One of the goals I had when entering the Youth category was to challenge myself by doing things I hadn’t done before. The biggest challenge for me was doing the Spirit of Adventure Trophy voyage which was a competition between four schools throughout New Zealand. Each school had 10 students and 1 teacher. We spent five nights on a ship out of the Auckland harbour. This was the first time that I had slept out at sea.
As well as learning to sail, we did many activities which were both physically and mentally challenging. One of these was rope swinging off the side of the ship and letting go to drop into the water. Every morning we had to jump off the ship and swim back to the ladder. This was in June so the water was quite cold. This experience taught me to go outside my comfort zone and not be afraid to try new things.
I also took part in the 40-hour famine for the first time. For this challenge, I was only allowed to eat rice for 40 hours. During this time, I took part in the 20-week challenge team survival walk. I also slept in a make-shift tent to appreciate the living conditions of the Syrian refugee camps.
During the 20-week challenge, I grew 3 cms meaning growing pains were a common occurrence. I found stretching helpful as it lengthened my muscles during this continual growing period. Even though my flexibility results didn’t show a huge improvement, just keeping my flexibility at the same point was a hard enough challenge. Although weight loss wasn’t a goal for me, I lost 2.3 kgs while gaining that 3 cm in height.
The day after my 15th birthday, I had a gum graft under local anaesthetic to cover the exposed root of my lower front tooth. I had to wear a purpose-built retainer for 3 weeks to protect the roof of my mouth where they had taken the graft from. For the first two weeks, my mouth was quite painful and I was on a liquid diet and couldn’t participate in any physical exercise. I am now back to full health.
On a weekly basis, I do Karate and a group fitness circuit. During the 20-week challenge, I did my first Karate grading and achieved my yellow belt. I have really enjoyed taking part in the 20-week challenge and hope to do it again next year.