Bunbury Cathedral Grammar celebrates 25 years with Outward Bound
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.
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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.
“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.
“I can recall, many years ago, having to shelter my group once in the tangled thickets behind
“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
“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