Aspirations made a reality for young leaders

NALs NSW Sept 2010

Recent studies have shown students who experience outdoor education programs are better equipped to become strong leaders. The information was gathered using Life Effectiveness Questionnaires (LEQs) completed following an Outward Bound Australia course and shows change in various areas of competency.


The study analyses the National Aspiring Leaders programs run between 2007 and 2010. The courses are run by The Smith Family and Westpac and delivered by Outward Bound Australia. They aim to inspire young leaders and equip them with the skills and values to help them take the initiative and lead our society.


The courses involve taking groups of teenagers, who apply through the Smith Family’s Learning for Life program, on a seven day Outward Bound course to challenge their skills and limitations. Following their course the participants were asked to fill in a LEQ. The questionnaires included self review questions in areas including time management, task leadership, emotional control, achievement motivation and self confidence.


The average responses to questionnaires for the National Aspiring Leaders program are overwhelmingly positive. The participants show increases of over 30% in the rate of learning compared to those achieved by some other programs.


Darren Black, CEO of Outward Bound Australia, says the program proved to be a successful way of developing life skills. Following their course experience students run a project in their community.


“The feedback from participants has shown these courses play a very important role developing young leaders.


“The success of the program can be largely attributed to the strength of the course aims identified before anyone steps foot in the field.” Mr Black said.


“Outward Bound is proud to provide opportunities like these throughout the community. The National Aspiring Leaders courses were made as affordable as possible to the participants through some very generous support from the community”


The Westpac Foundation provided the principle support to the program. In addition to their contribution The Foundation for Young Australians, The Smith Family and the Polly Farmer Foundation also provided assistance on National Aspiring Leaders courses.


The support from the business community for the National Aspiring Leaders program has helped Outward Bound provide hundreds of young people with the chance to achieve and give back to the community.


The National Aspiring Leaders program showed particularly high increases in achievement motivation and time management. The scores indicated a “very high positive impact”, which is the highest possible in the study.


These courses are an example of the longer, immersive course format for Outward Bound prefers. The results shown by the study are significantly higher than Outward Bound Australia’s overall average, reflecting the value of this course design.


“All our courses challenge young people. They are both internal and external journeys of discovery that enable adolescents to develop inner strength, teamwork and leadership skills. We hope their experiences will sustain them and their communities throughout their adult lives.”


“In bringing out the best in people Outward Bound aims to develop the most positive elements of the human character,” Mr Black said.

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