Summer holidays are the ultimate time for adventure – and for a lucky group of kids from the YMCA Hamilton Recreation Centre’s OSCAR (school holiday) programme, adventure came in the form of a fishing trip to the Coromandel.

Bright and early on a late January morning, the group of eight kids and four YMCA staffers piled into two vans and hit the road; amped up for a day of sun and sights. The YMCA team members had been prepping in advance, with all sorts of food and drink organised, including a few special treats – plenty of energy was going to be needed for the long day ahead!

The group of youngsters was a diverse bunch; ranging in age from 10 to 15, among them was one child living with autism and one with muscular dystrophy who uses a wheelchair.

The group got straight to business, with the drive to the Coromandel only broken up with a pause for morning tea. Lunch was a barbecue, with just the right amount of burgers and sausages to get everyone powered up, without being too full before hitting the waves. And of course, everyone was sure to carefully slip-slop-slap before heading out into the sun and onto the water.

By one o’clock, the group’s boat was heading towards the rest of the mussel barges and, after almost an hour cruising up through the Firth of Thames, the boat reached their ocean destination – it was time to get fishing.

All eight children (and the four adults, of course) had a brilliant time and it was a particularly special trip for the two children living with disabilities – showing exactly how life doesn’t have to be hindered and they can still very much enjoy fun activities! At the end of the day, everyone came out full of smiles and salt spray – especially after a lucky spotting of dolphins from the boat.

Not only was it a lot of fun for everyone involved, but it was a great success – after four hours on the water, the 12 of them had caught over 50 fish! Of the day, Monique Farrant, OSCAR Manager at YMCA Hamilton Recreation Centre commented, “The joy on the children’s faces was just awesome to see – it made the extra effort so worthwhile.”

Homeward bound, the group stopped off for dinner in Thames and finally got back to Hamilton around 10pm – with everyone full to the brim of tales to tell their families as soon as they got home.

“The kids’ excitement really made the trip worth it. Even when you’re just cruising along, the kids are all just sucking it up, absorbing in the scenery– the looks on their happy little faces are the best part,” says Monique.