The Trust’s Beginnings


– by Glenda Simpkin, co-founder with her late husband, Lyndsay Skimpkin

“Lyndsay and I met at Youth For Christ (YFC), where we had been working together. That’s where our story begins. He was the Campus Life director for Auckland at that stage and I came on as the receptionist for YFC. Campus Life was run by YFC in high schools. Eventually, I joined Lyndsay in the West Auckland Campus Life club and helped out there. The thing that Lynsday really loved was taking kids away on camping trips. I remember when we first started going out together, he took a group of kids up to Rere Bay in Whangaroa Harbour with kayaks, and they just had a ball. They had a few nightmares too, but it was a real fun time.”

“Things were changing at Youth For Christ in Auckland at the time and we ended up leaving. So we were unemployed and we decided to get married – we had an eight-week engagement because we thought we might as well get on with it.

“We went away for our first wedding anniversary. We got the little Fiat 128 and drove down to the South Island. And it was while we were driving around, chatting about what to do next, that we were talking about what Lyndsay was passionate about. He said, ‘I just really like taking kids camping.’ I said, ‘Oh well, it sounds like something we could get more involved in.’ And he said that he had actually been thinking about setting up a charitable trust to see if we could make it work.”

“That’s where the initial thoughts started coming. We came back home and chatted it through with Ken Stevenson, who became our Trust chairman from the beginning, and a few other people that were still supporting us financially. They were all keen for Lyns to stay within some sort of youth work. As we didn’t own a house and we didn’t have children, we thought, ‘What have we got to lose? We may as well give it a go.’

“At the beginning, we envisaged it being more for youth groups and groups within the church, but it wasn’t those groups that actually ended up wanting us. It was youth-at-risk type programmes that wanted to take us on.”

“Lyndsay was always a team player. One of his biggest worries over the years was sustaining the Trust beyond the Simpkins. He didn’t want it to be based around a personality. When he passed away , it was in a sense perfect timing, because we had an incredible bunch of people around us who could just step in and take over.”

“Lyndsay was a starter – he wasn’t a details person. That’s why he had me and other people. And he was always dreaming up new ideas of what could be done. He wouldn’t just settle back into the same old programme, week after week after week. It would always have to be something creative and new.”

“It was very stressful at times, especially around money. We never had a year that we ended with a surplus. It was always in deficit, and there was always the ‘Christian’ thing of living on the smell of an oily rag. It was difficult to pay people at times, although those sorts of things have improved in the last few years.

“For Lyndsay and I, it was definitely a financial sacrifice to get to where we are now. But in another way, it’s no sacrifice at all because you get out of it more than you put in. And the Lord has blessed us in that – beyond measure.”

>>> Lyndsay and Glenda Simpkin founded Adventure Specialties Trust in their garage in 1984.

Today, almost 40 years later, the Trust is still going strong, with over 20 employees across our Auckland and Christchurch branches.

We have run over 5000 programmes and reached over 100,000 participants over the lifetime of the Trust. And we’re still going strong.

Thank you, Glenda and Lyndsay, for your vision and your passion!

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