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Indigenous students empowered through outdoor education


For Indigenous students who attend boarding school, stepping out of their comfort zone is a familiar concept.  Not so familiar, however, is spending a week camping out in the Aussie bush and pushing themselves to their absolute limit, which is exactly what 18 brave students have just accomplished on a week-long camp as part of the AIEF Outward Bound Experience 2012.

The Indigenous students from Years 8, 9 and 10 at boarding schools across New South Wales and Queensland are supported by scholarships from the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation (AIEF).   Through the AIEF Pathways Program, the students were selected to attend the seven-day AIEF Outward Bound Experience, which is supported by AIEF’s and Outward Bound’s corporate partner, The Trust Company as Trustee for the Fred P. Archer Charitable Trust.

The physical, mental and emotional challenges overcome by the students on the camp contribute to the aims of AIEF’s Pathways Program, which provides a wide range of activities to develop the personal skills necessary for a successful career.

AIEF CEO Andrew Penfold said the AIEF Outward Bound Experience is a valuable part of the AIEF Skills Development Program which prepares Indigenous students for life post-school and assists their transition into productive and fulfilling careers.


“Resilience, self-confidence and leadership are among the most important skills to pursue a productive career and the AIEF Outward Bound Experience is a great opportunity to develop and strengthen these skills.”

“After a successful pilot in 2011, we are glad to be partnering with Outward Bound again this year and look forward to seeing more Indigenous students emerge from the camp with more self-confidence, new friends and a better understanding of their own capabilities,” said Mr Penfold.

Nestled on the fringe of the Namadgi National Park in ACT, Outward Bound’s base is a unique setting for most of the students who attend boarding schools in cities and regional centres across Australia.  Being isolated from the creature comforts such as phones, television and the internet removes distractions and provides opportunity for reflection and goal-setting.

The program included a journey-based expedition that saw students trek through national park, participate in rock climbing, abseiling and ropes course activities and a series of physical and mental challenges that aim to empower them to realise they are capable of more than they may think.


One participant, Tanika, said she gained a lot of confidence in her own abilities during the course.

“On the Outward Bound Journey, I learnt that if you push yourself towards things you thought you couldn’t do, most of the time you can actually achieve it,” said Tanika.

While Tanika’s highlight of the program was reaching the summit of Mount Tennant, Dexter enjoyed the hiking experience throughout the whole week.

“The highlight for me was hiking for the first time, camping out for a whole week with no electricity and no shower and challenging myself to step up and see the amazing sights along the way,” said Dexter.

“On Outward Bound I learnt that if I set a goal and stick to it, it is possible to achieve it.”

Outward Bound CEO Benjamin Farinazzo said Outward Bound’s outdoor education program empowers participants to discover, develop and achieve their potential.

“We are founded on helping young people prepare for the challenges and uncertainty of life by developing the most positive elements of the human character consistent with our core values of integrity, responsibility, resilience, compassion, service and human potential,” said Mr Farinazzo.

“Outward Bound Australia is proud to partner with AIEF and The Trust Company once again to provide these personal development opportunities and encourage strong values-based leadership in these future Indigenous leaders and role models.”

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.

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.

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

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OB Professional continues to create a point of difference in leadership development

obpro ozbound oct

Outward Bound Professional has kicked off the spring season with a suite of successful leadership development and team-building programs in September, including courses with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation and the Brindabella Speech and Hearing team.

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation has been coming to Outward Bound since 2009 to engage in leadership development and team-building initiatives for rural leaders. This year, nine participants from every state in Australia representing rural industries such as the Alice Springs Hospital, Oyster Famers Pty Ltd, Australian Cane Farmers, Dept of Primary Industries and Mt Isa Centre for Rural & Remote Health spent four days with Outward Bound.  From a high ropes course, to bushwalking, to a self-guided journey in the Orroral Valley, participants encountered challenges that developed their leadership styles and learned new skills to take back to their workplace.

A one-day program run for the entire Brindabella Hearing and Speech team was also a hit, starting at Outward Bound’s National Base and finishing up in the beautiful Orroral Valley. With the day focused on team-building and having a fun, shared experience away from the office, the all-girl team at Brindabella met with our all-girl instructional team at OB Pro for a morning on the team ropes and an afternoon of navigation as they used maps, compasses and teamwork to find their way out of the valley.

Next month will see the OB Pro team head over to the Hawkesbury River where they’ll kick off the season at scenic Fisherman’s Point with a Catalyst Leadership Development program.

Read more about leadership development and team-building opportunities with Outward Bound Professional


Ian Potter Foundation grant opens doors to more young aspiring leaders

ian potter foundation

Outward Bound is excited to announce a recent funding grant from the Ian Potter Foundation which will enable eight young rural leaders to take part in Outward Bound’s flagship National Aspiring Leader’s Summit. The partnership between Outward Bound and the Country Education Foundation supports and develops young leaders as they transition from high school into further education, training or vocations. The students from the Country Education Foundation will join participants from The Smith Family on a seven day summit to be run from Outward Bound’s national base in Tharwa, ACT. The intent of the Summit is to provide high-calibre leadership development training to young people with the goal of developing proactive, skilful, ethical and community service-minded leaders.

Thanks to the support from the Ian Potter Foundation, more young people in Australia will be given an opportunity to discover, develop and achieve their potential. Empowering Australia’s youth and building resilient communities is at the core of our being.



Our latest Outward Bound Community Partnerships Champion - Tony Cornell

tony  charmian cornell

Back in 2008, our Community Partnerships Coordinator Lloyd Worthy, presented to the N2 Lions District Convention in Merimbula NSW. In the audience was Lorraine Mackenzie, a future District Governor for Q1 District, encompassing 95 Lions Clubs in Queensland and Northern NSW. Impressed by the initiative and the 20+ years of southern NSW commitment, Lorraine booked Lloyd to address her Convention three years hence! As good as her word, Lloyd was the Q1 District keynote speaker in Logan, Qld in 2011.

DG Lorraine had already identified Past District Governor (PDG) Tony Cornell to be her Activity Chairman. And what a choice that was! This one-man dynamo has truly risen to the challenge. To begin, his club, Brunswick-Mullumbimby, without hesitation sponsored the first Q1 participant, to travel all the way to the ACT for a 12-day Navigator Course in time to appear on stage with Lloyd at the Convention, adding the final touch to the presentation. Of interest, that young man, Jonah Amberose, is part of the Outward Bound intern group currently in training!

Using funds from the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund (AOBDF) as a promotional opportunity, Lloyd invited Q1 District to join Outward Bound in co-sponsoring a group of participants on a Rainforest Navigator Course at Uki in January, providing they came up with sufficient numbers to support the course. The looming Christmas break and Outward Bound not resuming until a week before course commencement were real complications and there was only about six weeks till we had to call it. Hey, Outward Bound is supposed to be challenging, right?

Insufficient space here for the effort, the travel, the talks and the ‘friendly persuasion’ Tony pulled out of the hat. Suffice to say that the course proceeded with 15 participants, 13 of whom received part-sponsorship from combined Q1 District Lions Clubs, including 4 foster kids from the Qld Dept of Community Services. The July course was more difficult with no Outward Bound contribution, NSW and Qld school breaks not coinciding, and clubs balking at the $1875 course fee, but Tony persevered, providing 4 of the 6 Lions Club sponsored starters, and involving another 10 Clubs.

With more time and coinciding school breaks, Tony focussed on September this year, employing a new funding idea of 2 clubs per participant and expanding his initial arrangement for foster kids with the Qld Dept of Child Safety. Numerous written appeals to every Lions Club in the District, multiple club presentations, hundreds of kilometers and significant personal expense saw September almost entirely a Q1 Lions Club course, 11 of the 14 sponsored by a total of 17 Lions Clubs. He already has several thousand dollars donated towards the January course next year!

At the 2012 District Convention, he will present a proposal to have this activity formally declared a Q1 District Project for the next three years. This is an enormous step forward for the Outward Bound Community Partnerships initiative. In July this year, outgoing District Governor Lorraine Mackenzie paid tribute to his success in establishing the Q1 Outward Bound partnership, presenting him with the prestigious Dr. Harry Jenkins Fellowship Award for his efforts.

As Tony has stepped forward again for next year, he and Lloyd will continue their personal alliance, working towards a shared goal to give our youth the best start possible.

Photo: Tony and his wife Charmian after receiving his award.


Lions sponsored Leos complete Leadership Experience

leos 2012

Eight young Lions Club sponsored ‘Leos’ from throughout NSW braved cold weather over the June long weekend to attend a three-day leadership development ‘ Outward Bound Leadership Experience’, delivered at National Base in Tharwa, ACT.

The Leo Club Program provides Young People between 12 - 30 the chance to gain essential Life Skills of Leadership, Experience and Opportunity whilst serving their communities in a positive way.

Four pairs of Leos sponsored by the Lions Club of Gwandalan, Narellan, The Hills and Hornsby spent the three days working as a team to develop a strong understanding of the foundations of leadership, discover their leadership style through workshop activities and recognise the strengths and weaknesses of that style through physical and mental challenges.

Ryan Hodkinson from Baulkham Hills Leos Club felt that the course showed him the true meaning of Lions and Leos, of Leadership, Experience and Opportunity, and he will teach other Leos what he learnt during the program.

The course also pushed participants out of their comfort zones, with Gwandalan Leo Marcus Bickerdike learning “not to give up easily and that I can do anything I put my mind to.”

Thirteen year old Alora Cantwell from Baulkham Hills overcame her fear of heights and said the course made her “feel more comfortable socialising with a range of different ages and trusting others.”

Leos are the future of the Lions Club Organization and when they graduate from Leos are encouraged to continue their service through the Leo to Lion Program.


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