It has been another great start to our winter adult program, operating from Outward Bound Australia’s Northern NSW operational area. All participants arrived safely, with a large contingent travelling from Singapore to be here. After initial introductions and the traditional raising of the Blue Peter Flag, the participants spent time undertaking a range of activities focusing on getting to know the other members of the group. It was then off to the Pamper Pine high ropes activity for their first individual challenge. This activity involves an elevated platform in a tree. Once on the platform and connected to a safety line, participants are required to jump from the platform and try to grab a trapeze bar, before being lowered safely to the ground. This activity requires a huge amount of confidence and always rattles a few nerves. It proved to be a great initial activity for the group with many realizing ‘they could do it’ and ‘are never too old’ to be challenged.
It was a pre-dawn start this morning in preparation for the groups hike up Wollumbin Mount Warning for sunrise. They were rewarded with incredible views to the coastline and beyond. After such a magnificent start to the day they prepared for the beginning of their first canoeing expedition. They spent the afternoon working on paddling skills before heading off for their flat water expedition across Clarrie Hall Dam. Communication between paddling partners proved a little difficult – this showed when they were trying to keep the boats straight.
On Day 3, the group continued paddling across Clarrie Hall Dam, enjoying the stillness of this magical area and the warm sunshine. When they pulled into shore at the end of their paddle, the day was not over. It was then full back packs on as they hiked up “Heart Break Hill” to their campsite. It was a great effort and the group is happy to be forming new and strong relationships. They are starting to enjoy each other’s company, especially around the campfire in the evenings.
Another early morning start but this time it was straight to the abseil site for further personal challenges in the form of abseiling. With the support of other group members, each participant stretched and extended their comfort zones which proved to be an incredibly satisfying session. This was followed by an afternoon of service activities. Service beyond self – for the betterment of others and the environment is a Core Value of Outward Bound Australia. Today’s project involved helping out local landowners. One project involved maintaining a garden for an eldery landowner and another project involved assisting with repairs as a result of recent flood damage. Tonight is a bush cooking feast around the camp fire where many stories are bound to be shared!
Days 5, 6 and 7
The group began their three day land expedition through the World Heritage Wollumbin Mount Warning region. There were some long days hiking and at times some tricky navigation. For some participants allowing others to lead and navigate whilst not stepping in and not being in control was a challenge. During the expedition the group undertook a variety of communication activities which created a more open and honest team environment. By far the highlight of the expedition was the evening view of the stars from Mt Doughboy.
Days 8, 9 and 10
Today the group headed off on their epic two-day mountain biking expedition which will take them to Clarence Wilderness Lodge. This incredibly tough mountain biking section required the group to work together and support each other through the ups and downs of this pristine wilderness area. Whilst they are feeling tired they are becoming more efficient and tighter as a team. They arrived at their campsite in good time to prepare for their solo activity. On Solo participants are allocated their own campsite and spend an overnight period contemplating the past, present and future. Participants returned from their Solo experience rested and refreshed. It was then time to jump on the river for another paddling skills session in preparation for their second canoeing expedition. This time on white water rapids!