Next school holidays, from 9 to 17 July, local girls Molly Mexted and Amy Pearson will join a group of 50 keen students from around New Zealand on an 8-day residential course in photography, at a Brookfield Outdoor Education Centre, in Wainuiomata, Wellington.

This will be the fifth year that scouts have attended the course from our local Cromwell Scout Group, as the success of past students spreads by word of mouth. 

The course was set up in 2006 by Wellington-based digital artist and carver Norm Heke, who recognised a gap in the opportunities offered to Scouts.  He wanted to give Scouts a way to discover whether they were interested in pursuing photography as a career. 

Over the 16 years of offering the course, 315 youth aged 13-18 years have taken the opportunity to learn about photography, to improve their creative and technical ability and to explore its potential career opportunities.  

The programme includes lots of practical photography, a visit to a local farm to photograph animals, light painting at night, street photography in Wellington City, and presentations from several guest speakers on particular areas of photography.

For the past 10 years, the New Zealand Defense Force has sent one of their photographers along to assist with tutoring.  

Many students continue their photography education when they return to they secondary school studies, and some have continued with photography or media studies at tertiary level. 

Molly Mexted, who has been working hard to raise the total funds for the course, says, “I’m really looking forward to attending the school to learn more about photography.  I have had an interest in photography for several years, having spent time with Dad taking photographs.”

Molly is looking forward to learning to fully use a digital camera, and to discover Adobe Lightroom software to select images.  The goal is that each student produces a portfolio of 15 of their top images, which they can share with their friends back at Scouts and Guides.

“Spending a week in Wellington making new friends is exciting and a little scary,” says Molly.

Having worked on grape harvest to raise money for her journey, Molly is now selling pea straw at $10 a bale to complete her fundraising. If you would like to support Molly’s efforts by purchasing hay, please phone/txt Mark 027 218 8258.