In 1974, at 16, Dave was given a scholarship to attend a program with Outward Bound Trust in the UK. It’s fair to say it changed his life.
Under the tutelage of Captain Birdseye, “a roaring, grizzly, seasoned old salt who was possibly insane”, Dave and his peers ran, swam (or were hosed down), made their own beds and did their assigned chores, all before breakfast.
Then the real adventure began. A day consisted of escaping from capsized canoes, rock climbing, navigating and sailing. The “scurvy landlubbers”, as the old salt called them, narrowly avoided getting brained by the yard arm each time they tacked (changed direction), much to Captain Birdseye’s delight. This was his way of looking after them and preparing them for the challenges ahead on the program, and their lives to follow.
After surviving the water, Dave’s crew were driven deep into the dense, steep primal forest of Snowdonia, well out of sight of the road, and dropped off individually. They were each allocated a boggy slope of approx. 5m x 5m to be their home for three days. They had to make a bivouac, from rag, string and sticks or brave the elements.
Long after the blisters have faded, Dave deeply understands his values were ignited from that first night in the bush all those years ago. “I feel that some of the benefits were not necessarily immediate but were long term. Overall it was a very worthwhile experience, many aspects of it were physically demanding, but on reflection well–tailored for the typical candidate. It is my firm belief that many young people would benefit from participating in an Outward Bound course.”
Dave has never forgotten the generosity of the sponsor who enabled him to participate in that Outward Bound course all those years ago. He humbly says, “I am now fortunate enough to be in the position to re-pay a 45 year old ‘debt’”. Dave proudly sponsored participants in the UK and now living in Australia, he continues to sponsor participants in Australia too.
Like Dave, Outward Bound stands to serve Australia’s young people by giving them the opportunity to build self-belief, self-worth. resilience and adaptability. To enable them to realise their true potential because as Kurt Hahn said, “There is more in us than we know if we could be made to see it; perhaps, for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”
If you’re in the same position as Dave, either the 16 year old Dave who would relish the opportunity of an Outward Bound course, or the mature Dave who is able to change someone else’s life, please get in touch.
Sponsors like Dave keep Kurt Hahn’s philosophy alive. Thank you to all the donors and sponsors who support participants to attend Outward Bound programs across the world. Special thanks to the Lions Clubs across Australia who continue their generosity after many years.
Please Donate to the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund to assist a young Australian, like the 16 year old Dave, attend an Outward Program in the next school holidays.
Please download the Outward-Bound-Australia-Scholarship-Application form to apply for a scholarship to attend an Outward bound program the next school holidays.
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