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WA schools celebrate 25 years of Outdoor Education with Outward Bound

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Western Australian-based schools Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School and Perth College have this year celebrate their 25th anniversaries of outdoor education programs with Outward Bound.

Deputy Principal of Bunbury Cathedral Grammar Andy Cowan  says in a time when young people’s lives are consumed by the “I” factor and are so tied up in technology and the individual, it is comforting to know that some traditions still stand and the importance of  ‘having a go’ is still valued by teenagers.

“For 25 years the Outward Bound experience has been taking students away from their electronic gadgetry, out of their comfort zones, and removing all of those peripheral things which can clog up the real issues in their lives,” said Mr Cowan.

“Putting students in a situation in the wilderness which is unfamiliar and challenging, in which they have to show initiative, tolerance, compassion and determination; in which they have to work with others in a team environment, to find reserves inside themselves which they have never tapped before, and to achieve something for themselves and the group which they never thought they could, has a positive, long term, impact upon them.

“After 25 years, the Outward Bound course has become like a right of passage for the students and the ethos has almost woven into the fabric of what we do.”

Stuart Kininmonth, an ex-Outward Bound instructor who remembers the program in the early days says the school’s students have always been full of energy and ready to cope with the often tough conditions.

“I can recall, many years ago, having to shelter my group once in the tangled thickets behind Manadalay Beach because the wind was so strong,” said Stuart.

“It was like living in a set from a movie as you almost had to crawl around to get anywhere.”

While the days of crawling around thickets are now a distant memory, the program still encompasses a range of experiential wilderness challenges that aim to help students realise they are capable of more than they think, with this year’s group taking on navigation expeditions, rafting, high and low ropes courses and community service initiatives.

Mr Cowan said the school’s 25th anniversary with Outward Bound is an important milestone and signifies the compatibility between Outward Bound’s and the school’s curriculum.

“Care for the environment, an understanding of the importance of community, and the development of tolerant, well motivated and compassionate young adults who believe that they can make a real difference in the future has never been more important – and for us Outward Bound provides a key part in helping us work towards these.”

Likewise, Perth College’s Outward Bound Coordinating Teacher Caroline Macnaughtan says the program has immense benefits for the students.

“The girls definitely see the consequences of their actions and start to take more responsibility for what they do, rather on relying on others,” said Ms Macnaughtan.

“I think they grow up a lot as well. They become more adventurous with their learning, which we see transfer to the classroom back at school, and develop strategies to cope with adversity. The girls definitely increase their resilience.”

Outward Bound CEO Ben Farinazzo said the relationship withBunbury Cathedral Grammar School began when Outward Bound started operating in Western Australia 25 years ago and is one of the longest standing partnerships.

“We are proud to continue working with Bunbury Cathedral and feel honoured we can contribute to achieving the school’s mission,” Mr Farinazzo said.

“I would like to thank the school for their continued loyalty and look forward to helping more students develops the most positive elements of the human character consistent with our core values of integrity, responsibility, resilience, compassion, service and human potential.”

Outward Bound has partnered with Australian schools for over 50 years, adding an experiential education component to outdoor education curriculums that help students discover, develop and achieve their potential through journeys of self-discovery.

For more information about School Outdoor Education programs with Outward Bound please visithttp://www.outwardbound.org.au/schools.html

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Building stronger communities in the ACT

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A local education initiative aimed at building stronger communities by inspiring future generations has seen over 50 students from schools around the ACT complete a seven-day personal development camp in the wilderness of the Namadgi National Park.

The course was part of Outward Bound’s combined schools Regional Community Partnership program, which is a strategic initiative designed to foster growth in communities of regional Australia by providing challenging, experiential learning opportunities for financially disadvantaged students.

actrcp2Students from State, Independent, Christian and Catholic schools from across the ACT were offered scholarships through the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund to attend the course to help them develop leadership skills and stretch their comfort zones.

Outward Bound CEO Ben Farinazzo said the program allows not only the youth of the area but the whole community to benefit by instilling a sense of service and responsibility in the participants.

“Students complete physical and mental challenges, such as leading teams on expeditions, facing fears of heights on abseil descents and a three-hour solo period that tests their mental strength and communication skills,” Mr Farinazzo said.

“The program complements each of the schools’ strong philosophical base of holistic education aimed at providing a positive learning environment: positive discipline, healthy recreation, personal improvement, individual success and functioning supportive community.”

After the week-long adventure, parents keenly assembled at Outward Bound’s National Base in Tharwa to welcome their somewhat dirty but smiling children home and were impressed with the outcomes.

actrcp4“Kegan can’t stop talking about his experience up in the bush at Namadgi,” said Nikhil Ferreira, father of one of the participants.

“On a personal level Kegan discovered that he could achieve more than he expected from himself and that if he pushed himself, the body and mind can deliver an outstanding performance.

“What’s most intriguing is that this course gave Kegan some interesting new perspectives: He pointed out that we are lucky to live in this modern world but we take so much for granted and need to touch base with nature from time to time.

“I would personally like to thank the Outward Bound Team for giving these budding adventured the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Returning participants also gave the course glowing reports and were excited to share their stories.

“It was really fun, but really challenging too,” said Temaire-Rose Bannister from St Clare’s College.

John Sharp from St Francis Xavier College said the experience “was all-round amazing and inspirational”, while Tom Rose, from Stromlo High School said “it was an experience to last a lifetime!”

For more information on Regional Community Partnership programs in the ACT, NSW or VIC contact Sas Stahl on 02 6235 5752 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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FRIENDly Ride funds dedicated to program for people with Acquired Brain Injury

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Andy Friend has completed the last leg of his three-month cycling journey with a stop at Outward Bound’s National Base to announce the result of his fundraising effort and dedicate funds to an Outward Bound program for people with Acquired Brain Injury.

The charity ride, from Cooktown to Canberra, raised in the vicinity of $160,000, which will be split between Brain Injury Australia for research purposes and Outward Bound Australia to run Potential Unlimited, a custom-designed program for people with Acquired Brain Injury (ABI).

In announcing the final fundraising effort, Andy and his wife Kerri, who acquired a brain injury as a result of a mountain bike accident in 2010, presented a signed and framed bike riders jersey to former Outward Bound CEO Darren Black.

The Potential Unlimited program was born in 1998 when Matt Thomas, a resident psychologist with SABIS (now Head of Psychology, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst) began working on a program that would offer the Outward Bound challenge to people with an acquired brain injury an opportunity so that they, like so many fully functioning people, might discover, develop and achieve their individual potential.

Since 1998 the course has run in 2000, 2002 and 2003 and in 2010 Outward Bound conducted a highly successful pilot program aimed specifically at adolescents, which the 2012 program will be based on.

Potential Unlimited Project Coordinator Lloyd Worthy said the initiative is an ongoing success story and the subject of extensive research papers by Thomas.

“The exciting by-product to the Outward Bound programs for people with ABI is the discovery that there has been a significant and apparently sustainable improvement in the elusive area of "adjustment" for people with ABI,” said Mr Worthy.

“Research and feedback from participants and brain injury rehabilitation staff indicates that the thirty-five participants involved thus far have made advances far beyond expectations and continue to improve.

“An enormous amount of donors, supporters and family members have expressed their delight regarding the changes to the attitudes of the participants.

“Follow-up positive research in this regard has generated growing interest in the world of brain injury rehabilitation, not only in the participating units in New South Wales, but also nationally and more recently, internationally.”

In 2002, Westmead Hospital, which houses Australia's largest ABI Unit, entered the project, achieving an outstanding result with a more than 80% achievement rate in individual short and mid-term goals set by the Westmead group in the first 12 months after completing the Outward Bound course. Westmead has recently booked an October 2012 date, intending to provide participants for the next course.

Margaret Onus from the Westmead Hospital ABI Rehabilitation Service said the physical activities in the Potential Unlimited program was the turning point for participants.

“Outward Bound's philosophy of "challenge by choice" encouraged our group of participants to have a go & rediscover a "can do" attitude rather than focusing on their limitations,” said Ms Onus.

The Potential Unlimited program to be run in 2012 is now in the preparation stages thanks to the generous donation from Andy Friend and his wife Kerri.

   

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar celebrates 25 years with Outward Bound

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As 102 apprehensive Year 11 school students stand waiting in the chilly 6:30am air, suitcases bursting  and nerves on edge as they embark on a ten-day adventure into the unknown, Principal Andy Cowan can’t help but notice that, despite the nerves, the students are smiling and more than anything, they’re ready to have a go.

This is the underlying message behind Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School’s outdoor education program, which this year celebrates its 25th year with not-for-profit outdoor education provider Outward Bound.

Mr Cowan says in a time when young people’s lives are consumed by the “I” factor and are so tied up in technology and the individual, it is comforting to know that some traditions still stand and the importance of  ‘having a go’ is still valued by teenagers.

“For 25 years the Outward Bound experience has been taking students away from their electronic gadgetry, out of their comfort zones, and removing all of those peripheral things which can clog up the real issues in their lives,” said Mr Cowan.

bcgs2“Putting students in a situation in the wilderness which is unfamiliar and challenging, in which they have to show initiative, tolerance, compassion and determination; in which they have to work with others in a team environment, to find reserves inside themselves which they have never tapped before, and to achieve something for themselves and the group which they never thought they could, has a positive, long term, impact upon them.

“After 25 years, the Outward Bound course has become like a right of passage for the students and the ethos has almost woven into the fabric of what we do.”

As the students arrive at the Outward Bound base camp in Walpole, they prepare for their ten-day adventure by giving their phone, ipods, lollies and magazines to the instructors for safe-keeping and begin packing their backpacks with the necessities that will help them through the journey: sleeping bags, head torches, tarpaulin tents, cooking equipment, compasses, maps, pens,  paper and an open mind.

Stuart Kininmonth, an ex-Outward Bound instructor who remembers the program in the early days says the school’s students have always been full of energy and ready to cope with the often tough conditions.

bcgs3“I can recall, many years ago, having to shelter my group once in the tangled thickets behind Manadalay Beach because the wind was so strong,” said Stuart.

“It was like living in a set from a movie as you almost had to crawl around to get anywhere.”

While the days of crawling around thickets are now a distant memory, the program still encompasses a range of experiential wilderness challenges that aim to help students realise they are capable of more than they think, with this year’s group taking on navigation expeditions, rafting, high and low ropes courses and community service initiatives.

Mr Cowan said the school’s 25th anniversary with Outward Bound is an important milestone and signifies the compatibility between Outward Bound’s and the school’s curriculum.

“Care for the environment, an understanding of the importance of community, and the development of tolerant, well motivated and compassionate young adults who believe that they can make a real difference in the future has never been more important – and for us Outward Bound provides a key part in helping us work towards these.”

Outward Bound CEO Ben Farinazzo said the relationship with Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School began when Outward Bound started operating in Western Australia 25 years ago and is one of the longest standing partnerships.

“We are proud to continue working with Bunbury Cathedral and feel honoured we can contribute to achieving the school’s mission,” Mr Farinazzo said.

“I would like to thank the school for their continued loyalty and look forward to helping more students develops the most positive elements of the human character consistent with our core values of integrity, responsibility, resilience, compassion, service and human potential.”

Outward Bound has partnered with Australian schools for over 50 years, adding an experiential education component to outdoor education curriculums that help students discover, develop and achieve their potential through journeys of self-discovery.

For more information about School Outdoor Education programs with Outward Bound please visit http://www.outwardbound.org.au/schools.html

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Self-Discovery on Summit to Sea

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When people take the time to ‘recharge their batteries’,  images of lying beside pools, reading books and drinking cocktails generally come to mind, but not for local Wanniassa  woman Lizanne Dalgleish, 26; it was twenty-six days straight of hiking, camping, paddling and riding over 500km and three states that did the trick!

Liz’s epic journey, which saw her mountain bike across the Great Dividing Range, summit Mount Koscuizko and raft down the majestic snowy river as part of Outward Bound’s Summit to Sea adventure in January, was an opportunity to disconnect from the everyday stresses of life and re-energise for the New Year.

“2011 was a big year for me,” said Liz.

“I had a close family member pass away, I was working full time hours while trying to finish my nursing degree and had been offered a Graduate position with the Canberra Hospital, which met a big move from Brisbane.

“By the time November had rolled around I was feeling pretty drained. It was at this stage, I started surfing the net for my next holiday destination and I came across the Outward Bound Summit to Sea adventure. With sentences like “the ultimate adventure” and “not for the faint hearted” I thought it was just the physical challenge I had been looking for! However What I had not thought about was the social, education, moral and emotional challenges and achievements I would be faced with as well.”

liz2resizedThe epic adventure took Liz, as well as nine strangers from across the country on a journey of inspiration and self-discovery, starting on foot in the rugged hills of the Namadgi National Park in the ACT, through Aboriginal heritage sites and Australia’s colonial history.

After paddling across what was once the town of Adaminaby – sunken to create the Snowy Hydro Electricity scheme, Liz mountain-biked across the Great Dividing Range before entering the Koscuizko National Park, where she scaled Australia’s three highest peaks and witnessed stunning 360 degree vistas.

Continuing on foot, Liz and the group reached the Snowy River National Park and famous scene of Banjo Patterson’s The Man from Snowy River. After paddling the majestic Snowy River before trekking her way through Victorian State Forests, she arrived at her final destination, the sandy beaches looking over Bass Strait at Cape Conran.

Liz said the biggest challenge and probably one of the most pivotal moments in her life came at the very end of the trip.

“We were on our final day of the last hiking expedition. We had literally bush-bashed for 19 hours to reach our destination at 2am. We re-awoke at 6am to start the last physical challenge – running 15.6km to the Tasman Sea. I’d never run 15.6km, nor did I ever think I would. My whole body was aching after the long day of walking from the day before but there wasn’t a moment in that 15.6km run that I even thought giving up was an option. I reached the sand, a flag was marking the finish line with a view of the water crashing. I ran through that flag and kept going. With each stride I took off my shoes and socks and I kept running till I reached that water. I jumped in and as I emerged I looked out and it was what I can only describe as a true moment of reflection.

I was overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment. I had just travelled from the ACT to Victoria, I had just found nine amazing new friends, I had not yielded in the face of adversity, I had strived to conquer my challenges and I had served my community and myself with integrity along the way. I had just achieved something that very few people have the honour of saying they have achieved. I’d just completed Summit to Sea.

“After completing Summit to Sea, I’ve come back to my life unable to see negative. I’ve always been a half glass full type of person but like most, I’ve also had self doubt that has held me back from doing a lot of things. Now, my self doubt is gone and all I hold is excitement for my future both in a personal and work related sense.

Summit to Sea is hands down the best thing I have ever done. I came back feeling indescribably free. Free from my worries, free from my fears, reconnected with my values and found a true sense of self-belief within.”

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Ben Farinazzo, CEO of Outward Bound Australia says Summit to Sea is the flagship course for the Outward Bound, which has been providing challenging life experience for Australians for over 50 years.

"Outward Bound is designed to challenge people, get them to explore their personal boundaries and grow,” said Mr Farinazzo.

“We do this in some of the most stunning surroundings Australia has to offer.

“So often we hear tales of how an Outward Bound journey has had profound effects on a participant’s life, even decades after the course.”

For more information about Summit to Sea or Outward Bound’s shorter courses, visit www.outwardbound.org.au or Free Call 1800 267 999.

   

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