Older pupils gather for fun and learning

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Maddy Roy, 11, (Mt Somers Springburn), Kamal Larry, 12, (Longbeach), Crusaders team manager Shane Fletcher, Lachlan Rooney, 12, (Mt Somers Springburn) and Diana Peters, 11, (Dorie) at the LARS event.

Older pupils from eight Mid Canterbury rural primary schools are coming together a couple of times a term for fun, friendship and leadership development.

The Leaders of Rural Schools (LARS) is an initiative that involves around 140 pupils from schools at Longbeach, Hinds, Mayfield, Mt Somers, Methven (Our Lady of the Snows), Rakaia, Dorie and Wakanui.

The aim of LARS is to create inclusive events that bring rural leaders together to develop positive relationships now and in the future.

Pupils enjoyed their first collective gathering earlier this term with a meet and greet session at the EA Networks Centre’s pool.

On Wednesday they came together for the second event, a talk from Crusaders team manager and former school principal Shane Fletcher and Crusaders match manager Terry Williamson.

It was followed by an Amazing Race in Ashburton Domain.

Mr Fletcher spoke about goal setting and motivation with the youngsters, encouraging them to work together. He also wanted to empower them and make them understand their leadership role was more about the process, than the outcome.

“I want them to consider their actions, words and influences and give them inspiration to understand that moments change lives; the construction or destruction of it.”

Longbeach School principal Neil Simons, who initiated the LARS initiative, said he came across some old literature on a similar programme that had run locally a number of years ago.

He said LARS was about connecting children with others their own age and developing leadership potential.

A number of rural schools had been approached about the concept and its timing, and then discussions had taken place on possible activities and events.

“We have a technology challenge and science fair coming up and also an arts festival and sports competition.

“Term 4 is busy for everyone, so we’ll focus on a barbecue and playing games.”

Mr Simons said each school organised an event, when students spent most of one day out of school and with their contemporaries.