Age isn’t a barrier for Gibbston youngster Savannah Neal, who hopes to raise tens of thousands of dollars for Wakatipu Search and Rescue (SAR).
The 13-year-old’s a student at Frankton’s Liger Academy, where she was prompted to complete a community-focused project from start to finish, entirely on her own.
Savannah decided to create a fundraising video for SAR – youtube.com/watch?v=k46sb66JidE – after hearing stories from family friend and Air Rescue Trust manager Ed Halson.
Keen on building her communication and editing skills, she planned the process in detail and laid out her goals early, saying she’s really happy with the final product.
Savannah says some of the interviews she uses in the video are 30 minutes long, so she spent a lot of time on the editing process.
Her mum, who works in real estate, says her daughter spent ‘‘a solid three to four days’’ putting the video together, after starting the project at the beginning of term four.
‘‘I was very impressed by all the planning,’’ she says.
The three months of research and work rolled into the summer holidays, as Savannah’s determined to help SAR as much as she can.
She even took part in a training exercise with rescue dogs on Ben Lomond, taken up in a helicopter.
On the walk down after she was ‘found’, SAR discovered someone who did need help.
‘‘Being up there was indescribable … you get to know what it’s really like,’’ she says.
The marketing video aims to fundraise around $45,000 for a new portacom for SAR, and Savannah is reaching out to a lot of potential donors herself.
The portacom will be used for SAR to have its own base to operate from, as it currently uses areas like the Heli Glenorchy’s boardroom and police stations, which can’t always be relied on.
Halson says Savannah’s fundraising’s ‘‘absolutely welcomed’’.
While SAR receives great support from Lakes District Air Rescue Trust and other benefactors and donors, it’s a fully-voluntary operation doing ‘‘a lot behind the scenes,’’ he says.
Though still in school, she’s keen to get more involved with SAR, inspired by her experience and the people she’s met.
Savannah’s fundraising via the ‘Wakatipu Search & Rescue Sub Committee’ Givealittle page, and hopes her video will provide an insight to the vollies’ work.