By Edward Rooke
To be honest, I had no clue about what to expect on the Outward Bound Australia‘s Navigator Course I undertook in Autumn 2013, but when I walked onto that bus I knew this was the beginning of a wild and exciting experience.
One thing I will never forget about the Navigator Course was that deafening awkward silence on the bus from the information bay in Walpole to Conspicuous Cliffs. None the less, that awkward silence soon turned in to giggling and laughter as we became known to each other.
Navigator challenged me more than anything had before; physically and mentally. The hiking, the fun and challenging rafting, the high ropes course and the early mornings all challenged everyone and pushed us to our limits. Even though I am terrified of heights, and had done the high ropes course the year before, it was still a matter of controlling my thoughts and controlling the urge to enter the panic zone and scream, but completing it for the second time made me feel like I could do anything!
Throughout the program, we had improved even the very basic of skills such as listening, leadership and fellowship as well as learning new skills like navigating and how to pack a backpack. Leading the entire group on our Final Expedition was very challenging but that improved my leadership skills immensely. Time management and organisation was a big key to succeeding and reaching the goal of completing our Final Expedition. I also learnt that to be a good leader you need to be a good follower.
Every spare moment we had we were socialising or playing games or listening to Jason‘s crazy stories of his encounter with drop bears!
During these stories we learnt that drop bears are attracted to vegemite, the colour blue, people throwing oranges and bad singing. Everyone must have thought we were crazy and everyone was very worried that one of our leaders Alex may be the next victim because of his singing!
During the endless experience of hiking we visited some beautiful places along the Walpole coast. Long Point had the most amazing view with the sun setting over the ocean, sitting there with my new found lifetime friends is something I will never forget.
The skills I have learnt and fine-tuned: leading, fellowship and communication have enabled me to become more active in my community and school. I am now a part of the Walpole Recreation Centre Committee and am one of eight Prefects at Denmark
Senior High School as well as acting in other leadership roles such as coaching and training younger children. The Outward Bound Navigator course has given me greater knowledge and confidence to reach my true potential.
I without a doubt recommend the Outward Bound Navigator course. It has taught me more about myself, and provided me with lifelong skills and friends. The course provides you with the confidence, the potential and the self-belief to get you anywhere in life and overcome challenges you may face.
Outward Bound programs run throughout the year. I recommend anyone 15-17 years old to do the Navigator program. Like myself, you can gain sponsorship from companies and organisations.
For more information visit www.outwardbound.org.au or call 1800 267 999.
*this article originally appeared in the July 22, 2015 edition of the Walpole Weekly.
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