Highlights from the SVA Nelson Camp

The Student Volunteer Army’s (SVA) first camp of 2021 took place from 7 –  9 May in Nelson. The team headed up to help local community groups with weeding, planting, track maintance and setting up a new pop up shop. Take a look at the blog from the SVA below to find out more about the work they did and how they made the most of their time in the Tasman region:

The UC calendar is not complete without at least one SVA camp in the mix! Over the past weekend, some 60 UC students headed up to Nelson to bring the SVA spirit to the Tasman region. Volunteering was spread over two days with a large group planting happening on the Friday afternoon and then split group projects on the Saturday morning.

The SVA worked alongside local community groups, including Tasman Environmental Trust, Habitat for Humanity and ReStore, Keep Richmond Beautiful, the Cohen Family, and the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary. The mahi of our students meant 3000 trees were planted, a brand new pop-up store was set up with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity (a global charity providing families with housing support), a walking track was built in the Richmond hills, and over 100 extra volunteer hours were completed at a 700-acre sanctuary for endangered species.

Community leads were thankful for the support we provided and in return, inspired our volunteers with their stories. The wide variety of projects on this camp allowed for different skill sets to shine through but all provided a common motivation of contributing to the community. One of the volunteers working at the Brook Sanctuary said “We’re not doing this for ourselves, but for all of the future generations” – such an important reminder that the work done may not have an immediate result but the future impact is outstanding.

After a busy two days, volunteers were keen to kick back for the rest of the weekend, and were released to explore Nelson on the Saturday evening. Sunday was the trip back to Christchurch, with a detour to Kaikoura where we were treated with a whale sighting!

Overall, the camp was a huge success with President Luke Burke commenting “I honestly couldn’t be happier with how this weekend went. We thought we might have difficulty selling tickets, and we didn’t. We thought we’d get nothing but rain all weekend, and we didn’t. I have nothing but praise for all our volunteers, who put in two days of hard mahi with smiles on their faces. I didn’t hear a single complaint, despite them doing more than 9 hours of work each. Thank you, you troopers, you legends. It should go without saying that you’re welcome back any time! I should add that much of the success of the camp has to be attributed to the meticulous planning our events and logistics team put in. Thank you guys.”

The UC SVA would like to thank all the community groups that we worked with. These are dedicated, passionate people who are going above and beyond for the good of Tasman and New Zealand. We couldn’t run the events we do without the work these groups put in day in and out.

Our first camp of 2021 is the Student Volunteer Army’s seventh since 2018, now having covered the north, west, south and east regions of the South Island. We’re looking forward to hosting another towards the end of the year! Who knows where we’ll be heading next?

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