Igniting the Spark – How I became an Outward Bound Instructor

From participant to trainee to group instructor, Chelsea is living out the circle of life – Outward Bound style! Part of our fabulous team in our Northern Region, Chelsea describes her journey from participant to group instructor. Like her own experience as a teenager Chelsea now cherishes those moments when young people come up to her and say “Thanks for a great experience!”

The first experience

My journey to a career in Outdoor Education began when I was in year 9. My family had received a letter promoting a fabulous opportunity to take part in a 7-day Outward Bound adventure. The adventure took teenagers into a dynamic environment in the Australian Alps and enabled them to discover their true potential, build stronger relationships and gain a clearer understanding of one’s self. Growing up in a small country town, I was comfortable in the outdoors and spent more time riding my horses than spending time with other people, putting me in a bit of a ‘Chelsea Bubble’. So, for me, that Outward Bound adventure was a way to challenge myself and hopefully make some new friends.

My Outward Bound journey was a pinnacle moment for me. My group instructor was amazing and I still remember the impact that they had on me. Being a self proclaimed introvert, I never saw myself working with youth in the outdoors, especially as I always wanted to become a horse trainer. However, a seed was planted and a new career opportunity began to take formation.

Becoming a trainee

I was accepted into Outward Bound Australia’s staff in training program in 2017. Shy and introverted, I was thrown into a small living space with 11 other people. We became such a close knit team during the trainee-ship and had many memorable experiences together. We developed skills and knowledge in abseiling, canoeing, navigation and  multi-day expeditions which helped us confidently and safely take teams into the wilderness. We also learnt facilitation skills and I realised that whilst horse training is different to being an Outward Bound instructor there are similarities. Young horses are, funnily enough, quite similar to teenagers: Tough to convince, have a hard time understanding and listening and can put up a darn good fight when they are thrown into a challenging situation!! At Outward Bound we teach, facilitate and mentor young people to be their best. Our natural classroom is a dynamic environment where possibilities are broad and expand young people’s abilities with the guidance of an instructor. After completing the training, no matter whether there is rain, snow, wind, challenging groups or unforeseen situations, we know we have the skills to look after each team member and can see the benefits of Outdoor Education in developing human potential.

Completing the circle

I had this fantastic moment a few weeks back while I was with another bunch of young people. I was informed that a participant from another group knew me. To my surprise and excitement, he was a participant I had at the beginning of the year and he was back for another adventure – ready to continue his learning. He thanked me for his previous program and informed me he hoped to become an Outward Bound instructor when he was to leave school. And it’s moments like this that I realise I have made a difference and were the one to ignite a spark. That’s why I am an Outward Bound Instructor!

Interested in helping others be their best. Find out more about Outward Bound Australia’s staff selection process by speaking with one of our team 1800 267 999.

If you would like to create an Outward Bound Australia blog please get in touch with us by emailing mailbox@outwardbound.org.au. We would love to hear from you!

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