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Inspiring Regional Youth and Strengthening their Communities

cowra rcp1

For thirty-five young students from regional Australia, a week with Outward Bound meant much more than a chance to develop individual potential - it meant an opportunity build their local town into a strong, thriving community.

The students from local public and catholic schools in the western NSW town of Cowra recently spent seven days with Outward Bound in ACT’s Namadgi National Park as part of the Regional Community Partnerships program, which aims to build stronger communities in marginalised areas by inspiring the local youth. The program is made possible only by generous donations to the Outward Bound Development Fund from organisations and individuals who are determined to see rural and regional students gain access to the same learning opportunities as their peers in the city.

Outward Bound CEO Darren Black said this partnership with local communities, schools and sponsors has enormous potential to work at the root cause of many of our most problematic social issues.

cowra rcp3“By exposing young people growing up in rural or marginalised areas to the critical life skills learned on an Outward Bound course, they’re given the opportunity to strengthen their perceptions of the world, despite the influence of a sometimes negative society,” Mr Black said.

“It means these young people can harness their leadership potential and become role-models in their community, inspiring a trend that see’s small communities thrive.”

The Regional Community Partnerships program is based on an initiative that introduced the “circle of giving” by assisting another in similar need. Participants are encouraged to raise a portion of the course cost themselves, which is then channelled directly back into Outward Bound and allows AOBDF to contribute to others’ scholarships.

Cowra’s St Raphael’s High School student Ben Wilkinson, 14, said the course gave him the chance to gain discipline he never would have had the opportunity to develop without Outward Bound.

“The most challenging aspect of the course was having to be with 17 totally different people for a whole week,” Ben said.

“Learning to deal with and tolerate other people was difficult, but with perseverance I overcame it and learnt to harness this frustration and use it to lead the group with enthusiasm.”

Bianca Riggio, 15, also from St Raphael’s, said the course taught her the importance of respecting her parents, teachers and local community members.

“Outward Bound taught me to pay more attention to others’ needs and has inspired me contribute more both at home and at school,” said Bianca.

Cowra High School and St Raphael’s High School have been engaged in the Community Partnership program since 2005 and were able to attend this year’s program thanks to a generous last-minute donation to the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund from the Danks Trust.

cowra rcp2If you would like to contribute to the future of the Cowra Community’s Outward Bound program, or donate towards a program for a regional school in another area, please contact AODBF Officer Susan Sharf:

Phone (02) 6235 5754, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Or you can make a direct donation at


Lions Clubs help youth Navigate through life


Bravery is just one quality that describes young local student Jonah Amberose from Mullumbimby, who has not only just completed a challenging twelve-day personal development journey in the Australian wilderness, but also stood up to speak about his experience in front of his local Lions Club.

Jonah is the first participant to be sponsored by a Q1 District Lions Club and one of five students who joined the course as part of a Community Partnership Program between Outward Bound and local Lions Clubs around Australia, aiming to help local youth discover and achieve their potential and become positive leaders in their communities.

The wilderness adventure, held in the ACT’s Namadgi National Park, teaches students valuable life lessons about perseverance and leadership through challenges that test their resilience including abseiling, trekking, rock-climbing and learning how to be self-sufficient.

jonah amberoseJonah was selected by the Lions Club of Brunswick-Mullumbimby to attend the course and said the course was not only physically challenging, but also emotionally and psychologically challenging every day.

“The hiking and steep climbs were tough, but the teamwork, leadership and planning skills the group learnt during the course helped us push through every challenge we faced,” Jonah said.

“The highlight was the solo time, which gave me time to reflect on my experiences and plan for my future.

“What I got out of Outward Bound will help me in the future with communication and many life skills.”

Jonah’s plans to apply for an Internship with Outward Bound next year to train as an Outdoor Recreation Instructor pays testament to the impact the course has had upon him.

He also showcased his newly acquired confidence at a recent Q1 District Lions Convention when he stood up in front of community members to speak about his Outward Bound experience and challenges they overcame.

Lions District Govenor of the Q1 area Lorraine Mackenzie said it was awe inspiring to see and hear from a youth who has grown so much in confidence from attending an Outward Bound course.

“Jonah has changed his life around from attending this course and we as Lions know that he has benefitted from this experience,” Ms Mackenzie said.

“Lions from all over Australia are working hard to build up self esteem in all our youth and Jonah from attending this course has been given a real chance at this.

District 201Q1 Lions Clubs, which include communities from south of the Brisbane River in the north, Ballina in the South and westward to St George are, in partnership with Outward Bound, in the throes of recruiting more young Australians who seek sponsorship to a similar course to be held near Uki, NSW in early January. District Chairman for the Project Tony Cornell of the Brunswick-Mulumbimby Lions Club said following the outstanding success of the first sponsorship with Jonah, many Clubs have expressed interest in the scheme.

“We would love to hear from local young people who are interested in participating in the Outward Bound course, Tony said.

“Positions are limited and we are looking to conclude arrangements in the next couple of weeks, so if it’s something you’d like to do, please get in touch with us.”

If you or anyone you know is interested in being sponsored by Lions to attend the Outward Bound course, email Tony Cornell at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or telephone 02 6680 2011.



Albury students step up & into the wild

albury group

Seventy two Albury High School students have returned from a seven day wilderness adventure with valuable life lessons about perseverance and leadership as part of a continuing program with Outward Bound Australia.

The Year Eight students left their mobiles, iPods, makeup and other creature comforts back at home in Albury and put their resilience to the test with a range of physical, social and mental challenges aimed to take them out of their comfort zones in the bush surroundings of ACT’s Namadgi National Park.

The course offers a personal challenge to the students of their perceived limits and encourages them to push against the ‘easy way out’ through challenges such as abseiling, rock-climbing, hiking and learning how to become self-sufficient.  The concept of leadership was also introduced to the Year 8’s through navigation challenges where the students take turns navigating teams through the national park, learning to communicate with each other and increase their tolerance of others.

liam mackayStudent Darcy Larkin said the course has been a life changing experience.

“Outward Bound has helped me become more independent, fitter and healthier,” Darcy said.

“Everyone was so supportive and we made a great team.”

Michael Heran, another student who participated in the course, said the week with Outward Bound was hard but taught him some important life skills.

“It was an amazing experience that taught me the limits of myself and how to be independent,” Michael said.

The Annual Albury High School Outward Bound course has become a rite of passage for the Year 8 students and, now in its eighth year, has been part of the school’s curriculum since 2004.

To ensure the students are given equal opportunity to attend the course, The Australian Outward Bound Development Fund offers support and funds to Albury High School and relies on the generous donations from members of the public.

Year 8 teacher Melissa Albert said the course is an important part of the student’s personal development and hopes to be able to continue on with the program.

“It’s a rewarding and positive experience for the students which allows them to develop both physically and personally”

Outward Bound CEO Darren Black believes outdoor adventures are crucial for the development of young Australians so they can discover, develop and achieve their potential.

“The course stretches students mentally and physically, but the challenge helps them grow,” Mr Black said.

“They learn to work together and draw strength from each other to succeed, developing the most positive elements of the human character consistent with our core values of integrity, responsibility, resilience, compassion, service and human potential.”

If you would like to assist the continuation of the Albury High School Outward Bound Program and help give next year’s Year 8 students the opportunity to participate in this life-changing course, please contact the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund on 1800 267 999 or email Susan Scharf: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

lachlan haslam albury girls


2011 Annual Report

  • Download Outward Bound Australia's 2011 Annual Report here



Indigenous students pave their own pathways


2,500km might seem a long way to travel to attend a camp, but the twenty-seven Indigenous students who have returned from a seven day personal development course in the Australian wilderness will tell you that their journey with Outward Bound was much more than your regular school camping trip.

Students travelled from as far north as Cairns to attend the challenging, week-long adventure, held in ACT’s Namadgi National Park. The course put the students’ limits to the test and potential on show as part of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation’s (AIEF) Post-School Pathways Program which assists Indigenous students to develop clear career goals and offers work-readiness programs to achieve them.

great group picThe two groups, made up of Year 9, 10 and 11 students from AIEF Partner Schools in New South Wales and Queensland, participated in a Welcome to Country ceremony on their first night on course and completed challenges that align with AIEF’s goals to empower Indigenous children to realise their potential, take responsibility for their own future and develop leadership skills.

Robbie from Marist College Ashgrove said his favourite activity was exploring the ancient boulders of that make up ‘Legoland’.

“I really liked climbing into the small spaces and seeing the big view of the valley,” Robbie said.

“Experiencing something different like that really took me out of my comfort zone."

A ‘Celebration of Achievement’ dinner was held on the final night of the course at the Outward Bound National Base to acknowledge the challenges the students had overcome.

The dinner was attended by AIEF Founder and CEO Andrew Penfold, who said he is impressed by the adventure the students have taken on and hopes they can take home some valuable lessons about team work, leadership and also about themselves.

“At AIEF, we believe that Indigenous children in financial need should have access to some of the leading educational opportunities, companies and providers to pursue productive and fulfilling careers,” said Mr Penfold.

“We identified the Outward Bound program as an opportunity for personal development that helps the students develop the skills needed to define their goals, take on challenges and realise they are capable of much more than they may think.”

red group girls AIEF is a not-for-profit organisation that provides boarding school and residential university college scholarships and offers career pathways to empower marginalised Indigenous children to build a future through quality education and careers.

Outward Bound CEO Darren Black said Outward Bound’s outdoor adventures align with the education goals of AIEF and are crucial for the development of all young Australians so they can discover, develop and achieve their potential.

“The course stretches students mentally and physically, but the challenge helps them grow,” Mr Black said.

“They learn to work together and draw strength from each other to succeed, developing the most positive elements of the human character consistent with our core values of integrity, responsibility, resilience, compassion, service and human potential.

“With the addition of the Outward Bound course to the AIEF Post-School Pathways Program, we are determined to work hard with them to provide important personal development opportunities for marginalised Indigenous children around Australia.”

As the leading provider of outdoor experiential learning programs, Outward Bound Australia has been helping Australian’s realise their potential and leadership abilities for over 50 years and delivers outdoor learning programs to thousands of students every year.

For more information about Outward Bound and their courses, visit

For more information about the work of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, visit

Return to Youth Development Programs

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