Hunter business people have an opportunity to trek the Southern Alps of New Zealand next year while supporting local young people to reach their potential through the second annual Trek For Stars event.
Funds raised from the second Trek for the Stars will go to local community housing provider Home in Place’ Grow A Star youth mentoring and scholarships program.
Hunter-based wealth and business advisory firm PKF is sponsoring the trek.
Partner and Head of its Newcastle and Sydney Audit and Assurance Team, Clayton Hickey and Audit & Assurance Partner in Sydney, Kym Reilly are the first two people to sign up for the trek.
Clayton said the affordability and availability of housing have long been a big issue in our community and growing in significance.
He said amongst the headlines and statistics, not enough is said or understood about the impact of the unaffordability of housing on families, specifically the children in these families.
“Grow A Star is one program in our community that is focused on this issue,” Clayton said.
“Grow A Star scholarships can be the difference between a child being able to pay registration fees for sport, to learn an instrument, and to access other things that build a community of friends and create acceptance,” Clayton said.
“When you are supporting Grow A Star, you are supporting something truly unique.
“It was a very easy decision for PKF to provide this support, and I am looking forward to trekking through a beautiful part of the world with like-minded people.”
Home in Place Events and Partnerships Manager, Michelle Faithfull is leading the upcoming trek in conjunction with experienced fundraising trek company, Inspired Adventures.
Michelle is calling on other business leaders or teams to take part in the trek.
Michelle said the six-day, 50km, trek starts in Christchurch and will finish in the adventure destination of Queenstown. Participants will visit Lake Tekapo, Mount Cook, Wanaka, and the famous Tasman Glacier.
“Every day you’ll be rewarded by some of New Zealand’s most spectacular sights,” Michelle said.
“You’ll also be challenged by alpine hikes past glacial lakes, up steep mountainous slopes and through valleys, forests, and snowfields.
“This will be my sixth trek. I have ed this New Zealand South Island trek a few years ago for another charity. It’s an absolutely spectacular itinerary.
“These treks are a fun way to connect to other business leaders while giving back to the community. They are a great opportunity to have time away from the office for personal reflection and growth.”
Michelle said the Grow A Star program helps young people realise their academic, sporting, or artistic dreams.
“Grow a Star helps young people to overcome the financial or generational obstacles that are preventing them from being a star.
“We remove barriers by funding things such as specialist lessons or coaching, equipment or clothing, sports club registration and representative fees, some travel expenses, excursions, elective school subjects, music or dance lessons, or musical instruments.”
A recent evaluation of the program by the University of Newcastle’s Youth Studies Centre found that the program has a meaningful impact on the lives of young people and their families.
The research found that while the program is primarily known for providing funding for young people, much of the value of the program is in its focus on mentorship and its strong referral pathways which link young people and their families to many other resources and organisations.
The trek will run from 16 to 21 April 2024. The travel cost is $3,550 which includes meals, accommodation, a local guide, and national park fees.
There is a $3,000 fundraising requirement per participant.
Nine people undertook the inaugural fundraising trek in Tasmania in 2022. That trek raised $15,000 which was used to provide scholarships and support to young people.