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Changing lives for the better


Boshena Warzecha is a foster mother who has witnessed dramatic turnarounds in teenagers who’ve attended Outward Bound courses during time under her care. Three children she has cared for have been sponsored by the local Lions Club to attend Outward Bound courses and have each returned home with a change in attitude, a sunny outlook on life and a promising direction forward. Boshena shares her most recent experience with Outward Bound:


Dear Outward Bound,

I just wanted you to know that Jamie had an absolutely fabulous time at Outward Bound and he cannot stop raving about it.

I did not tell you, but before the course Jamie got himself into some bad company and from a lovely, helpful and cooperative kid was turning into a moody, angry, lying and truant teenager. He was deeply unhappy but could not get himself out of the situation.

Outward Bound was the best thing that could have happened to him at that moment.

I am really, really grateful that you helped us to make this possible for Jamie. We saw changes in him immediately and he even says himself that he feels as if a weight has lifted of him and he can breathe again. He is so happy he positively glows.

He came back extremely excited with many comments such as:
" I loved every moment of it"
" I had fun ALL THE TIME"
" It went too fast"
" After I finished the course I felt like I can breathe again, like I get a new start now"
" Everybody said that I was the best at mountain biking"
" Everybody liked me, especially the girls, they said I was a gentleman"
" I am SO over salami and cheese sandwiches!" :-)
“I did so many things that I did not know I could do"

He is extremely proud of his badge, his diploma and personal notes that girls at the camp wrote to him. I asked him what was the best part about the camp and he said - "everything".

We feel like we have the "good Jamie" back again. He got his confidence back which enabled him to drop his act and become true to himself again.

This is the third teenager that we sent to Outward Bound and the course had a major impact on every one of them. It is amazing to see this transformation. In our household we count down the days till the next camp. It is as if there is a clear line of "before OB" and "after OB". They come back a lot more mature and grounded. They are easier to live with and much more pleasant to be around.

Thank you so very much for your work Outward Bound. It changes lives really quickly.



If you know of someone like Jamie who could benefit from a life-changing Outward Bound course, or are interested in getting your local community organisation to sponsor someone in need, please get in touch with our Public Enrolments manager Eva Breidenbach, Freecall 1800 267 999.


Leading the Next Step in Outdoor Education

17th National Oudoor Education Conference


Outward Bound Australia has cemented its standing as a market leader in outdoor education with a strong presence at the 17th National Outdoor Education Conference, held last week at the University of Canberra.

As a Bronze Sponsor of the three-day event and key member of NOEC planning committee, Outward Bound brought over 50 years of industry knowledge to the table, with staff leading open forum discussions and presentations on challenges and innovations in the industry.

noec3The theme of the conference was “The Next Step”, with Outward Bound representatives offering invaluable learning and development opportunities for other professionals in the industry. Topics covered by seasoned Outward Bound professionals included  ‘Deployment of New Technology into Field Operations’, ‘Developing Relationships with the Natural World through Outdoor Education’ and ‘The use of Urban Environment in Outdoor Education’.

Providing an opportunity to evaluate the current standing of the industry, the conference was also a great platform for Outward Bound to touch base with both new and firmly cemented stakeholders and reaffirm its organisational vision and success as an Outdoor Education provider over the past 50 years.

A highlight of the conference was an open forum discussion led by Outward Bound CEO Darren Black about the challenges of sustaining Outdoor Education Organisations in Australia. Darren spoke about Outward Bound’s journey over the last seven years and the organisation and industry’s direction forward.

“Over the past seven years the Outward Bound journey has required the organisation to stay true to its vision, values and mission. However, with no margin there is no mission,” Darren said.

“The key to creating a great organisation is attracting and retaining excellent people. We must stay in touch with the customer and continue to offer safe and quality experiences.

“Outward Bound has been inspiring Australians for over 50 years – what does the future hold?”

This question was addressed on the third day of the conference when a timely topic was passionately discussed at the plenary sessions: The role of Outdoor Education in the national curriculum, a future potential that could positively impact on Outward Bound and other Outdoor Education organisations as a provider to schools.

At the forefront of Outdoor Education in Australia since 1956, Outward Bound continues to work towards resolving challenges in the industry such as this while remaining focused on delivering world-renowned personal development experiences to Australians.

Visit the Outward Bound Australia homepage



CEO Succession Announcement

darren successionDarren Black, OBA’s CEO, has announced his intention to resign from his role at the conclusion of the next OBA Board meeting on Sunday 26 February.

Darren has been CEO of OBA for seven years after a two year period as Business Development Manager. Darren has done a great job as CEO and we will miss him. During Darren’s tenure participant numbers have grown, staff salaries and entitlements have been significantly improved, and the overall financial health of the organisation has been strengthened. Darren was pivotal in the acquisition of Interaction last August, which has led to a period of growth and an enhanced capacity to service the markets in Queensland and northern NSW. Grants and Donations received from the Vincent Fairfax Foundation and the Thyne Reid and John T Reid Foundations have provided funds for capital works to refurbish and upgrade OBA facilities of around $1.5 million and more funding is being sought.

Ben Farinazzo will join OBA on Monday 23 January and will replace Darren as OBA CEO from Monday 27 February. Ben is 36 and for the last three years has been CEO of Australian Business Academy, a Canberra based, national provider of education and training pathways to young people. Ben has previously worked as a performance coach trainer and consultant and as a security adviser to the Commonwealth Bank and to large corporates active in the oil and gas and mining industries in both Australia and Indonesia. During Ben’s early career as an officer in the Australian Army his experience included leadership, staff and training postings in Australia and offshore. Ben has a Bachelor of Arts(Honours)degree in political science from the University of NSW and qualifications in vocational education and training. Ben is fluent in Bahasa Indonesian. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

We welcome Ben to Outward Bound Australia and look forward to working with him in the future.

Rod Pearse


5000km journey finishes with Friends along for the ride

kerri  andy

After 5000km, 93 days and immeasurable amounts of courage, strength and support, Outward Bound Alumni Andy Friend and his wife Kerri completed their mountain bike journey together on Saturday December 3rd, leading a team of 35 riders safely back to Canberra.

While it was Andy who was doing the pedalling, the ride was just as taxing for Kerri in the support vehicle, as she battled her own challenges in a bid to raise awareness of and funds for acquired brain injury.

The pair embarked on this amazing journey on September 1st to help Kerri’s recovery from an acquired brain injury that she suffered after falling in a mountain bike race 18 months earlier.

They spent three months on the road, with Andy riding along the Bicentennial National Trial and Kerri providing back-up support in the way of logistics, administration, communications, PR and food supplies.


Kerri said the hardest part of the journey for her was coping with the fatigue.

‘‘My routine before, some days I’d need to have some quiet time or a sleep to be able to go on with the rest of the day,’’ Kerri said.

‘‘But I couldn’t do that on this trip because we’d need to get to the finish, set up for the night.

‘‘It’s just been really tiring, backing up, doing all the little things; I’m exhausted at the moment, but it’s a good exhausted.

‘‘Some people have pointed out that’s it’s as much a challenge for Andy as it was for me. But I think he’s done a particularly hard job.’’

db and andyFriend was accompanied by 35 riders for the last leg of the journey, including Outward Bound CEO Darren Black who joined the ride three days earlier for the final 220kms from Gundaroo to Parliament House.

“We arrived tired and sore but all proud to have participated in such a terrific event for a great cause,” Mr Black said.

Friend said it was surreal to be finished after 93 days highs and lows.

‘‘The big goal was to raise awareness of acquired brain injury and we’ve definitely done that.

‘‘The reception along the way was brilliant, it was one of the highlights, we met so many genuine people who opened their hearts, wallets and houses to help out.’’

“We really helped Kerri in her rehabilitation and to raise funds for acquired brain injury.

To date, the event has raised about $150,000, which, after expenses, will be split between the two supported charities: Brain Injury Australia and Outward Bound.

While the ride may be finished, fundraising efforts are far from over and online donations towards Outward Bound programs for people with an acquired brain injury are still open.


Thank you to all who have given toward this cause. If you would like to make a donation, it’s not too late, please visit and Give Now to further support Andy and Kerri’s journey.





Outward Bound & Andy Friend join forces to support acquired brain injury


After almost three months of cycling to raise awareness of acquired brain injury, former Brumbies Coach and Outward Bound Alumni Andy Friend is taking on the last leg of his journey with Outward Bound CEO Darren Black.

Andy and Darren will ride together from Taralga NSW to Canberra, finishing the last leg of a 5000km journey outside Parliament house on Saturday 3rd December. The pair, along with Andy’s support team and wife Kerri, will celebrate the achievement with sponsors, Outward Bound Australia and Brian Injury Australia at a dinner at the National Press Club on Saturday night.



The FRIENDly Ride began on 1st September as a three month Mountain Bike challenge from Cooktown to Canberra, for Andy and Kerri to support a cause close to both their hearts. After Kerri acquired a Brain Injury in an accident while Mountain Biking just 12 months ago, the couple have decided to donate all sponsorship funds raised from the ride to Brain Injury Australia and The Outward Bound Foundation to run outdoor programs for participants with an Acquired Brain Injury.

Andy said the ride was designed not only to test his physical and mental endurance on the bike, but also to assist Kerri with her recovery as she supports him by being a part of the back up team.


“Kerri and I have always enjoyed the outdoors and we were both Outward Bound instructors when we met. The accident changed our world and prior to it I admittedly didn’t know much about acquired brain injury or the affect it has on people and their families,” Andy said.


Andy said this challenge has been one of the toughest he’s ever faced, but he’s determined to conquer the last leg in order to help his family personally and others publicly.

Kerri has been managing Andy’s social media activity, allowing fans to follow them on their 5000km journey and show their support. Andy has also been writing a regular blog, which includes some inspirational and humorous anecdotes about his experiences during the ride:



“…After a long soaking shower, I iced my knees and replenished my depleted water levels. Kez and I then decided to head into the restaurant for a meal. My three courses barely hit the sides!”



From Widden Stud the track turned to gravel and quickly into sandy soil as it began the ascent of the Great Dividing Range in Wollomi National Park. The next two hours seemed like they’d never end. The track was heavy given the recent rain and the bike just seemed to stick rather than roll. It felt like I had two flat tyres the whole time. To make matters worse, the steepness of the climbs were well over 15% and the temperature was now up in the 30’s. By the time I reached “Keith’s Lookout”, I was just about spent. I can only remember two other days on the whole journey when I’d felt so drained.



Kez fed me a ham sandwich, a Mars bar and a bottle of Powerade to try and pick up my energy levels. I told myself to ride for another hour max, and that would make tomorrow much easier. Off I plodded, slowly but surely turning the pedals over. After about 20 mins, the fuel I’d just eaten kicked in and I felt great again. About two hours and another 40kms later I pulled up, just south of Nowendoc, having ridden 120kms, the furthest I’d ridden since we started our journey in Cooktown.


To read more of Andy’s blog and find out how he and Darren fare on the last leg of this epic ride, visit The FRIENDly Ride website.

If you’re inspired by Andy and Kerri’s journey, you can support their cause and those with acquired brain injury by making a donation here



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