Rainforest Navigator September 2016 | Youth Development Program
Welcome to the Blog for our Rainforest Navigator program. Here you will find updates from the program including a written account of each day’s events as well as photos. You can expect the written portion to be quite up-to-date, photos may take a day or two as they are a little harder to get out of the bush! Please join in and leave your comments – we’d love to hear from you! Stay tuned for the first post!
Day 1 – Blog Update
The Rainforest Navigator is underway and what an exciting time it is for these 12 young Australians! Before the course had even begun they were chatting like old friends on the bus ride to the Outward Bound base in Uki. They were welcomed to Outward Bound with the traditional raising of the Blue Peter – a naval flag that signals a ship leaving its harbour. The Blue Peter flag will fly for the duration of the 12 day program and represents the challenges to be faced by the group as they step out of their comfort zones.
After this the group divided up their gear (tents, cooking equipment etc) and headed to the first camp, getting ready for their abseiling activity early on Day 2. Stay tuned for photos and more updates!
Day 2 – Activity Update
After their first night together, the Rainforest Navigators woke to discover that they had been visited by a horse and some cows who had helped themselves to some of the group food! I’m guessing they won’t be leaving the food out overnight after learning that lesson! The challenges kept on coming with a navigation lesson, followed by the abseil activity on the morning of Day 2. The abseil activity is a fantastic one for pushing individual comfort zones, with the Outward Bound instructors employing a “challenge by choice” approach and empowering each individual to decide what is their 100% effort, whether that is standing at the edge of the cliff, or doing the entire abseil.
After the abseil the group began their first major hike to Doon Doon Saddle from where their camp enjoyed spectacular views of Wollumbin (Mt Warning) amidst the spectacular volcanic caldera. From here they will embark on another day and a half of hiking before being picked up and dropped at the start of their canoe expedition!
Stay tuned for photographs of Day 2.
Day 3 & 4 – Activities Update
Apologies to all of the followers that missed their updates over the past two days – the adventure is going along well, just a small delay in getting photos from the field.
The group hiked from Doon Doon Platform along the historic Nightcap Trail, used in the 18 and 1900s by postmen and travellers between Lismore and Murwillumbah. The walk is on the edge of the caldera and the lush soil left behind by the Mt Warning volcano make for world heritage listed rainforest. The group camped at Rummery Park and this morning made their way to the top of Minyon Falls – a 100 metre high waterfall that plunges down into the valley below. Today the group was transported 3 hours down to the Clarence River where they will do some canoe skill sessions and transfer all their gear into barrels in preparation for a few days white water paddling down the river. The group has been performing well with leaders being designated each day. The instructors are handing over more and more responsibility as the group has started to take more ownership of their journey. They are in high spirits despite encountering quite a few leeches and were very keen to get on to the river.
The group is now canoeing down the Clarence River. While on the river our base camp staff will be communicating with them via satellite messages and updates may not be quite as comprehensive. Once they are off the river we will be able to upload their photos and hear more fully how their journey is progressing. Thanks for following along and for all of your comments!
Days 5 & 6
The group has spent the past two days canoeing down the Clarence River! The instructors, Ellie and Charlie, report that they are performing exceptionally well as a team as they learn the new skills required in canoeing. Canoeing in white-water requires lots of communication and teamwork between the two people in the boat and this has just provided another way in which the group has been able to practice their teamwork. The water level on the river is a little bit high which has meant they have had some good rapids and are moving at a good speed down the river – the only thing slowing them down is getting the water out of their boats after they’ve capsized! All is going well though and the group will be hopping off the river tomorrow at about midday before going in to their solo activity tomorrow (Monday) evening. We should expect to collect some photos from the group when they are picked up and will hope to post the photos on line tomorrow evening. Thanks for tuning in, the journey is only just half way!
Days 7 & 8
We hope you’re enjoying our coverage of the Rainforest Navigator for September 2016! As reported above, the group were picked up from the end of their canoeing expedition on Sunday and yesterday (Monday) went out on their overnight solo activity. The instructors Charlie and Ellie reported that the end of the canoeing expedition had been a real turning point for some of the participants. Charlie and Ellie taught the group about Outward Bound’s history, all the way back to its origins as a training program for young sailors during World War Two. Although much has changed since the 1940s, the underlying goals of developing resilience and self-confidence remain the same and learning about the history of Outward Bound helped give the group some more perspective on what they are here for. This is a fantastic lesson for them leading in to their solo activity which will give them some opportunities to reflect on their journey thus far, as well as to set some goals for the rest of the course, and for life back at home. Stay tuned for the next update when we will learn a bit more about how the solo activity went.
If you’d like to learn more about Outward Bound’s history you can check out these links:
Days 9 & 10
After coming off solo the group really came together as a well-oiled machine and are running the course themselves. People enjoyed the time to stop and think while out by themselves, others struggled with the lack of instructions for a full 24hrs.
This quote came from a participant who was very shy and quiet at the beginning of course and since spending the time on solo has come out firing as a leader and a big voice in the group:
“We’re all like birds, the higher we fly, the happier we are, when birds are against wind its facing a challenge. With them on the ground, its in it’s safe zone. So let’s fly together for years to come” – Matt
Today (day 10) the group mountain biked to the Mebbin National Park. The group were incredibly fast doing a full day’s ride in half a day. Their legs really felt the pump and just when the group was feeling physically beat the instructors decided to throw some challenges at the minds of the group. Problem solving initiatives such as the “Human Knot” and “Magic Hat” were thrown at the team with the aims being to get the group thinking outside the box and communicating effectively as a team. The crew rounded out the afternoon with a bushcraft lesson themed “grand designs/the block” where teams built a shelter and pitched it to the “judges” many laughs were had.
With only one more full day of course, the group is sure to be on a bit of a high and will be enjoying their last nights together.
As always, thanks for tuning in!
The final full program day was action packed. The crew left Mebbin National Park in their dust, as they rode back towards basecamp. After finishing the mountain bike section, the group continued on to an activity known as “pamper pine” in which the group climb up to a platform and jump out in a leap of faith aiming for a trapeze. It was exceptional to see the support and encouragement come from the group and really summarized the group’s ability to come together for each other, something which has led to a very successful program.
After the crew cleaned their mountain bikes they were introduced to a core value of OB, service, to give without expecting something in return. The group took this on wholeheartedly and gave their all to clean up a section of basecamp which was absolutely covered in invasive weeds. The group followed this with a special celebration dinner – a roast prepared on the campfire. With the last night so abruptly upon them there were many stories to tell before an early bedtime to prepare for the summation of the course atop the mighty Wollumbin (Mt Warning) for sunrise.