“It’s about being a better man, and just being a better person – mentally, physically and socially,” said Cherrybrook Technology High School PDHPE teacher Rick Pedley-Smith of the challenge he is about to face.
Mr Pedley-Smith and fellow teacher Wade Fairclough will take a team of year 10 boys on a 50 kilometre endurance hike in 24 hours from Brooklyn Marina to Bobbin Head this month.
In its inaugural year, the Rite of Passage Boys' Initiative program, founded by Mr Pedley-Smith, aims to help teenagers at risk as they enter a decision-making time of their life. The students meet weekly to discuss homework or any life matters they need help with.
“Some of the boys have decided to stay on to do year 11 and others have apprenticeships lined up,” he said.
In preparation for their hike the team has completed a six-hour and 12-hour boot camp with Zero79.
“Zero79 is a leadership and development program. The activities are run by ex-commandos,” Mr Pedley-Smith said.
“We’ve been trained by Scott Evennett – the ninja warrior contestant – and another two trainers, Anthony Finn and Adam McMahon.”
Noah Lumbroso, 16, said he has enjoyed the program over the past year.
“I’ve enjoyed the practice walks,” he said. “It’s fun us all working together as a team.”
Soon Noah will be leaving school to complete a graphics design course at Tafe.
He said the program has given him the confidence to work out his direction in life.
“I’ve changed quite a bit, definitely more mature and more independent.”
The program has brought the students together and Mr Pedley-Smith said many teachers have reported a rapid change in student’s behaviour, maturity and ability to deal with situations.
“It’s about respect and if you can get through something tough outside when a similarly hard situation occurs in the classroom, they have the skills to get through it,” he said.
The students will begin their 50 kilometre hike on November 23.
Funds raised will go to the Commando Welfare Trust which assists the children of fallen Australian soldiers.