In 1986, Luke Paardekooper became involved with the Otago Youth Adventure Trust through the Red Cross Youth Group.
Luke learned that the Trust had been involved in procuring a newly built camp for a location called Berwick, 45 minutes south of Dunedin. The camp had a local committee, Dave Dobbie and Ivan Webb, and discussions with the two sealed the deal. Luke was coming on board.
Luke handed his notice in at the Wilson Bros engineering Warehouse. He traded in his wage of $400/week for $100/week (negotiated up from $50/week), the promise of a "kick up the bum" from Ivan, and a half-built Sauna to live in to take on the warden role at Berwick.
As luck would have it, a house was found for the Trust to buy that Luke could live in and he was given Snoopy, a golden labrador puppy, as his companion. When he arrived, Luke thought he would live there forever.
The early days at Berwick solidified Luke's passion for the outdoors, creating projects to work on and taking others through confidence-building exercises.
Luke built more beds for the camp, encouraged schools to get involved, built a confidence course and an incentives course, convinced others to donate to the cause, and started working on ways to bring more people together.
Berwick was the start of the journey that lead Luke to the last 33 years of team-building activities, conference planning, and corporate event management.