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Call for Captains to lead city walking groups

Monday, April 30, 2018

A leader, a commander, someone who presides over or governs. There’s an air of authority about a Captain – by definition, at least – but get a group of City on its Feet Captains together are there is nothing but laughter and smiles.

City on its Feet, supported by Sport Bay of Plenty and Tauranga City Council, features more than 25 free walking groups across the city and surrounds, including Papamoa East, Omanawa (lower Kaimais), Pyes Pa, Bethlehem and more.

These are organised and supported by a group of volunteer Group Captains, who help keep participants motivated.

Each quarter, the Captains meet at HQ, Sport Bay of Plenty, to discuss business – which usually involves sharing tips on local walks and beyond, going out for a short excursion, and coming together over a cuppa.

The City on its Feet walking groups have become communities within their community, a social space for all ages and abilities. The walking is a by-product of having a good time.

“The groups are great for people looking to meet others, or if they’re new to the area, it’s a good way to get acquainted with their surrounds,” says Helen Melville, Captain of the Greerton group.

Chris Schwarz from Otumoetai/Matua says, “We’ll often go for a walk around Kulim Park area and end at the Chapel Street Café… which is usually a two-hour stint in itself!”

“Everyone is very friendly,” says Marian Gellert. “Usually someone will offer to host back at their place.”

Special occasions always call for celebration, as do seasonal changes (the mid-winter Christmas gathering is always a hit). Walking groups will go near and far, with some heading off-site once a month around the region in search of new territory and adventures.

“We like to support events too,” says Chris. “When the Trustpower Photography Exhibit was on, we did a walk around that and took a tour around all the street art in the Mount recently.”

The walking groups bring not just the participants, but also the Captains, great joy, and while most fell into the role after the previous Captain passed the hat (so to speak), they all love to do it.

“I like a challenge,” says Kay Green, who leads the Papamoa Walkie Talkies. “And it is nice when you receive appreciation from members who have enjoyed the walks.”

Her advice to future Captains is “Be a people person, be patient and caring, listen well, and of course enjoy walking!”

Groups currently run six days week and always welcome new members. To find a group near you, visit the website.

City on its Feet is looking for keen Captains to help lead existing groups in Te Puke and Mount Maunganui, as well as start new groups in the Tauranga area.

If you, or someone you know, is interested, please contact Michelle Barns on michelleb@sportbop.co.nz or 027 441 2164.

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