Navigator – Rainforest – January 2019

Welcome to the Navigator blog for our team on expedition through spectacular Rainforests in Nth NSW. We hope you enjoy keeping up to date with the stories and triumphs of the team over the next 12 days. We’ll try and get photos up as soon as they come in but there is often a couple of day’s delay.

Day 1

Welcome to the 14 young people ready for the adventure. A big high five to two members who have joined us for their second and third Navigator adventures respectively!!

Everyone has arrived safely – yay! Their instructors, Cat and Simon, are excited to meet them and they have planned a brilliant 12 days of adventures for them.

The team prepared their expedition equipment ensuring they had all the food, water and gear needed for the first leg of their expedition. After a lunch in the Longhouse they then hiked the ‘Rainforest track’ to camp. The track is a steep incline which puts them to the test first thing so they get used to their bags and each other’s company.

Day 2

The day began with a lesson on leadership called the Leadership Wheel. The Leadership Wheel is a unique way of looking at leadership archetypes.

At the end of the workshop young people realise that there are many ways to lead and each has their “Wisdoms” and “Shadows”. During the journey the young people can use this as  a reflection tool to evaluate how they are leading other’s in their team. Interestingly the majority of the group were found to be Visionaries with 4 Nurturers and 1 Warrior. We look forward to seeing all the unique and amazing ideas that this team comes forward with during the journey!

With some new ideas about leadership James and Tom took the lead of the group for the day. First task to complete was the Giant Ladder. Well done to Mitchell who overcame his fear of heights and made it to the second rung on the giants ladder. With not enough Teachers in the group managing the time there was a late arrival to camp. But the team have now set up and a roaring fire to cook on and are settling in for a good night.

Day 3

Mountain biking the challenging Lemon Tree Road trail.

Today was a very hot and dry day leading to the group moving a bit sluggishly but they loved the bike riding. Heading up the hills on slippery gravel was the biggest challenge for most and for some the downhills were very scary. The crew is forming friendships and roles within the team which is fantastic to see. Tonight they cooked dinner from start to finish with very little help or guidance from the instructors. Leader of the day were Billy and Mitch who rose to the task and were fantastic.

Day 4 and 5

On Thursday the team kept in the cool by following the Tweed River. Hiking through beautiful Bangalow palm forest they learnt about some of the native flora putting this to good use by making a make shift hat for Levi made out of bangalow palm and giant elephant ears (the plant not the animal!). Highlight of day from Shaun and Emma was building an “appreciation for getting to learn about the land that we have been staying on and have the knowledge to appreciate it”.

The team had a generally fun day and their navigation skills are improving as they even got to practice some off track navigation with compass and maps.

From it’s inception Outward Bound programs have emphasized compassion for other’s as the most important lesson to learn from our programs. Cat and Simon (the instructors) have been very impressed with the way this team cares for each member of their crew.

While climbing Big Ben on Friday, a 30 metre high hoop pine, the team realized one participant was a little past their comfort zone. So they all climbed back down the tree to support their fellow teammate. Once they had dropped off their teammate the others then climbed back up to reach their goal.

The leaders of day were Jayden and Jemi with a little additional support from Mitch. The leaders managed their team well and the team gave back to the environment through the tree planting service project today. Outward Bound has been an integral partner with Tweed Valley council in replanting the river corridor. Grace really enjoyed the service saying that “she found it very therapeutic and took her mind of other things”.

The team continues to learn how to work better with each other. Today involved a communication session, identifying that talking over each other is an issue they are working on. On the humorous side the group has a natural gas issue due to the baked beans (thanks for sharing team!) and they think this is hilarious.

The group are craving coffee, up and go’s, oranges and spaghetti and have started leaving lists of their requests for the back up staff.

Day 6

Today was a day of big challenges with big rewards starting with a 2am wake up to climb Mt Warning. Alex and H were leading the group today and although they didn’t quite make it to the top for sunrise they were rewarded with stunning views and clear skies.

It was a scorcher of a day so luckily after Mt Warning the group reached Clarrie Hall dam for their first day of canoeing. There were lots of zig-zagging and circles as they learned to work together to steer their boats. There was not too much concern about capsizing in the hot weather and Tom and Jayden ‘accidently’ fell out of their canoe but were very impressive getting back in without tipping their boat over. The crew went in for a well deserved swim upon reaching their campsite and then it was time for a different type of challenge – an inward journey of self-reflection for their solo activity. This is a chance for them to recharge and reflect on what they’ve achieved so far and to set some goals for the rest of program and for the rest of their lives!

Day 7 and 8

The team are travelling well over the past two days. They have completed their overnight solo and had a delicious bushcook with roast meats and vegetables in the coals. One of the challenges they completed was the maze (pictured with blindfolds). A sensory challenge that requires good listening and communication.

Day 9

Notes from the field:

“The crew had an epic day of hiking over Mt Jerusalem. It was their biggest challenge. They had to navigate off track while negotiating some thick, rainforest vegetation. But the views were impressive and the group was in high spirits getting into camp.

Their campsite last night is the most beautiful on our circuit with views over the valley they’ve been travelling through over the last 10 days. They could see Wollumbin (Mt Warning) which they summitted a few days before as well as Clarrie hall dam where they canoed. Today is their final hike through beautiful rainforest and the group will be doing a values journey along the way – a chance to reflect on what their values are and how they can live up to them.”

Day 10

Day 11

Getting into camp late the night before the group powered together to hike to Minion Falls lookout. There they where amazed by spectacular views of the falls as they cascade 100m into the pool below. The viewing platform also is something to be experienced!

We welcomed back to of our team members after a short break. The team was excited to see them back and both highlighted how supportive the team have been of them especially on the hikes. As these young people work together they begin to realise the importance of supporting each other to achieve their best. Well done to the team.

The team has arrived at the basecamp and are very excited to achieve so much during their expedition. They still have some challenges to complete. First they headed to the leap of faith where everyone had a go at jumping off the pole. Blindfolded and attached to the safety line, individual’s climb the pole to the top and stand on a small platform. A ball hangs a small leap in front of them and with the encouragement of their team mates and trust in themselves they jump off the platform to try and reach the ball. Mitch showed exceptional courage facing his fears making it bravely to the top of the ladder before coming down.

As dinner rocked round that evening the team was loud, chatty and nothing but smiles. This erupted into cheers when they discovered someone else was making dinner for them! This was a celebration of all they had achieved over the 11 days. The night finished with a talent show put on by the participants, with singing, dancing and guitar playing.

Day 12

After 12 days of journeying today was a chance for the team to celebrate their achievements! Food of course was an important part of this and they enjoyed their pancake breakfast and a shower! Looking back on the 12 days the team reflected on their successes. Navigator adventures provide young people an opportunity to experience leading their peers. Reflecting on what they had learn on leadership each person identified what they had learnt the most.

“I learned how to motivate different individuals to get them on the same page. I also learned a bit about the Sage leadership style – changing my leadership type depending on the situation” Billy

“I learned I had to change my approach depending on the situation” Jemi

“It was hard because getting everyone to listen to you is hard” H

“I learned to use my voice” Jayden

“Although the road may be long with bends and bumps you must stand tall and empower them all” Mitch

“It is very difficult to make people listen – I learned to be a louder person to get people to listen” Levi

“Leadership is challenging because not everyone listens to you and it’s a lot of responsibility” Raha

“I usually find leadership easy – but in this situation it was hard to lead because everyone was tired. but it was good resistance training because it was tough in the field but things will be easier back home” Shaun

In recognition of their achievements participants presented each other with their Outward Bound certificate. A special congratulations to
Jemi who was awarded her Outward Bound pin for 65 days in the field and her 4th Outward Bound program. Jemi lowered the Blue Peter flag which signified that their great adventure was over and that they were safe back home.

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