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Long Drops and Hard Knocks

Long Drops and Hard Knocks is a book celebrating fifty years of a remarkable annual event – a school camp. But it’s no ordinary camp and this story is packed with adventure, laughter, drama, danger and intrigue.

Queenstown author Sue Fea takes us beyond the world-renown, high country Skippers Canyon, near Queenstown, and into the vast, beautiful and remote Branches Station.

There, decade after decade, one generation following another, hundreds of youngsters from Wakatipu High School have discovered themselves through their camp, an unmatched outdoor experience.

Without home comforts, with few facilities, fending for themselves, facing physical and mental challenges, they have to endure whatever weather and dramas come their way during a relentless programme designed to help them cross the threshold into adulthood.

Long Drops and Hard Knocks tells scores of stories of challenge, overcoming fear, self-discovery and achievement during a relentless two-week camp under canvas. They have little contact with the outside world, face situations they have never confronted before and then re-emerge to a world left behind, lifelong friendships created, new skills revealed, having achieved things they had only imagined and stronger and better for what they have experienced.

Long Drops and Hard Knocks is more than history. It’s a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit and what it can achieve in the right environment and with the right direction.

All proceeds of book sales go to fund future Branches Camps, keeping the camp affordable for all. 

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