Fresh faces, nerves and mixed feelings of excitement are what kicked off the first of 12 days on the first Victorian Snow River Navigator program for 2015! With a full day of fun ahead the group had to begin day 1. The eager participants initially spent some time with their new group, getting to know their names, and also what excitement lay ahead of them for the rest of the day.
A high ropes element known as the Giant Ladder was one of the main challenges on the first day! The group very much impressed themselves and the staff as every single participant gave it their best shot to get to the top of the tall, daunting, thrilling ladder with their partner. The ladder consists of several log beams connected vertically, where a team of two participants wearing helmets and harnesses are hooked up to a rope on the ladder. With this they climb up the ladder any way they can! Some made it to the very top, but all finished the activity having discovered the use of team work to reach their goal, which proved to be a huge help when scaling its height.
Already on their first introduction to cooking in the bush, the group tucked into spaghetti bolognaise and it was enjoyed by all, receiving a very ‘tasty’ rating. High spirits lingered despite a little rain fall, and the chatter of new friends and positive outlooks about what lies ahead topped the end of their first day with Outward Bound Australia.
Setting high standards for the team already, they woke at the early time of 6.30am and were impressively ready to leave camp at 9.30am. Go team!
Today they got the opportunity to push their comfort zones further and explore the possibilities of team work with both climbing and abseiling. Abseiling was excellent! Everyone got involved and was able to push their comfort zones in a new and exciting way. The climbing activity was very relaxing and enjoyable for the group, it was heaps of fun and a good paced activity after a few intense activities already undertaken.
After a big day of challenging activities, dinner was warmly welcomed. Natural chefs already! The group utilized their spice kit extremely well, and the instructors both quoted, “this is our best meal to date.” With their second night sleeping under the stars, the group is starting to feel at home already surrounded by beautiful trees, bird calls and the occasional kangaroo.
Over the first two days, the team is growing stronger as a unit gaining teamwork and trust building skills as well as expanding their comfort zones. What more will the days ahead bring?! The group is excited and feeling pumped for the next set of activities and days ahead.
Day 3 – 4:
Days 3 and 4 saw the group embark on their first expedition that challenged the participants greatly but also gave them the rewards they were looking for. They view from the top of Mount McLeod was spectacular! It is always satisfying to work together through a tough experience to achieve a common goal. The instructors did a brilliant job de-briefing the group at night and ramping up the challenges that are to come over the next couple of days. On the afternoon of Day 4 the group performed a service activity for a local farmer by helping him to clear his field and get it ready for pastoral land. Service is an essential component of any program. The Outward Bound Motto is “To serve, to strive and to not to yield” and it is brilliant to see this group exemplifying this approach to life.They then made their way to camp to get some rest and prepare for their caving session. The participants are developing their cooking skills, learning how to prepare de-hydrated meals and experimenting with vegetable stir fries!
The group started their caving session very early this morning, they were split into two groups with both groups entering the cave in the dark – a great sensory experience! Whilst the cave was extremely muddy the participants loved the challenge of being underground and learning about cave formations and structures. There was an overwhelming feeling of being in another world! Once out of the cave the group cleaned themselves, packed up and headed towards their solo activity site. In this activity, participants spent a night out in the bush by themselves in their own designated campsite (with instructors close by checking in on them). Participants prepared their own meals and enjoyed the unique opportunity to rest, reflect and re energise without any interruptions.
Day 6 and 7:
There were smiles all around today! The participants finished their solo activity and regrouped to share each of their individual experiences. This led to some fantastic discussion questions: “What is the most valuable thing in life” and “How do you want to reflect back on your life so far”. The group then headed down to the mighty Snowy River to begin their 3 day paddling expedition. With warm weather forecast, the group will be spending plenty of time swimming and paddling! The participants are developing strong leadership skills as they take turns directing the group, high standards have been set so far with some really effective and efficient leaders.
Day 8 of program saw the group finish up their 3 day river expedition which was a huge success. The group finished setting up camp and got ready for their final expedition, this started with working out their final route plan and getting it sent back to base camp. It was an early night in camp to prepare for an alpine start the next day.
The first day of expedition saw the group head up the long point track, towards the Monument track fire tower were they would collect their first portion of food for the long expedition. Once they had picked up their food, they headed off into the wilderness again. The started off going a little slower than they were used to due to the bush being rugged and thick. They travelled 3km in 3hrs. That night they found a lovely expedition campsite in the bush. They talked about the day and got pumped up for their second last day out in the field and on their Outward Bound Australia journey.
The second last day of hiking was the hardest for the group because of the weather that had rolled in. There was no rain however, just 27 degree humid weather! The group tried their hardest to stay hydrated in the sweltering heat, which seemed to increase by midday. They stopped in the heat to rehydrate and rest, and in the cool of the afternoon they hiked the stony creek track and camped around 1 km from there. The group had some big decisions to make around the campsite that night which would determine how their program would end.
The final day at Outward Bound Australia had arrived! The day was spent pushing for their final campsite. Everyone put in such a huge effort. They walked all day long to arrive at their final destination. They were stopped mid-way by a big thunderstorm where they were all positioned safety, relaxing with snacks and good company. That night they celebrated reaching so many goals throughout their program!
On the morning of day 12 they were driven to Buchan for showers and were presented with their certificates and compass rose pins, the instructors then took them all into town said good bye to them and wished them luck for the future.
The instructors have said that these participants were polite well mannered, intelligent had a lot of initiative and great leadership skills.