Welcome to the blog for the Australian Alps Navigator, April, 2016. After all meeting at our National Base in Tharwa, participants were transported to our Snowy River base. Both groups arrived onto the circuit and were at their campsites by early evening. Participants have been split into two groups: Orange and Yellow. Reports from the field are that the participants are doing really well and looking forward to their Day 2 activities.
Orange group enjoyed their first full day on program, taking on the challenges of the High Ropes Course ‘Giant Ladder’, all members of the group displayed great team work as every member was able to reach the top of the ladder. It was then onto hiking through the bush to the rock climbing site for an afternoon of more challenges, everyone gave the activity their best. During the day the group was also busy working on their team flag which represents what kind of team they want to be. (Blue flag seen in group shot). The final challenge of their first day after a navigation lesson from instructors was to navigate themselves through the bush to their campsite. They all pulled together and used the skills they were taught and reached their destination successfully. Yellow Group also had a great climbing session with everyone achieving their goals, it was then onto the challenge of navigating themselves to the bottom of Mt McLeod where they would camp the night.
Both groups set off this morning as the sun rose to make use of the cooler temperatures. They certainly got their first taste of a tough expedition up and over Mt McLeod. For the Yellow team, after a big effort from all members of the group they found themselves at the top just after morning tea time – what a massive effort!!!!!! There was some impressive navigation from both groups and a lot of teamwork and perseverance along the expedition. Whilst exhausted at the top both groups felt relieved and accomplished. After time to admire the view they were off again down the other side striving for their next challenge, World Hill. The downhill run was apparently a bit easier and each group arrived in a beautiful campsite, fatigued but happy. Teamwork was definitely the key today and some great learning’s: ‘singing along the way helps’ and ‘there’s always an end’. A warm campfire and some couscous topped off a successful day.
Yellow Group finished off their two day expedition in good time. They spent the afternoon preparing for their overnight solo activity, which is an incredibly powerful (and restful!) part of the program. For almost a full 24 hours, participants were allocated their own campsite with equipment and rations, spending time reflecting and re energising. Some constructed castles, others struggled through the rain with their shelters, all had big learning’s. Appreciation of the little things in life that are taken for granted was a key discussion point when the group came together after their solo experience. Some participants shared very deeply about why they came on course, others shared ways to implement change and transfer what they have learnt once they return home. This time apart refreshed the group so that they moved onto their caving activity enlightened and ready to tackle the next challenges to be faced.
Orange Group continued their expedition up and over World Hill. The group is coming together really well. They navigated like professionals through the small horseshoe expedition around to the caving activity site. Led by their nominated leaders of the day they organised themselves into two crews, caving throughout the night. Challenging themselves and dealing with some pretty primal fears: heights, darkness, small spaces and getting dirty. All supported one another very well throughout the session. They were amazed by the caves! The then headed out onto solo for some rest, relaxation and reflection. This was an opportunity to spend some time alone testing their bush skills and reflecting on course so far. On their solo they had a chance to look inward and reflect on their role within the team/group as well as where they want to head in their lives.
Both groups spent days 6-8 paddling down the Snowy River:
Yellow Group – going down the rapids was great fun and exciting! There was also a greater appreciation of the beauty of the remote area they paddled through. They stopped along the way to undertake a service activity. This involved helping to build a path at a campground for the local community which they really got in to. Service beyond self – for the betterment of others and the environment is one of Outward Bound’s Core Values. The Yellow group is solidifying as a great team and are definitely highly motivated to succeed.
The Orange group spent time sharing and discussing their solo activity before beginning their rafting expedition. They spent detailed time learning safety signals and techniques for paddling white water rapids, as well as how to guide a raft. The river has been a time for splashing, some appreciation of the environment, wildlife spotting (especially eagles and ducks) and of course … pirating other rafts! Along the way there has also been some gnarly rapids thrown in there as well!
Yellow Group awoke super early to jump back on the river in order to arrive at their final river destination by lunch time. Once off the river, the ‘Outward Bound Story’ was told to the group – it was a special moment for the group and made a lot more sense to them now that they were so far into the program. It was then packs back on to hike the remaining section to their evening campsite to begin preparation for their final expedition. Making route plans and figuring out where they were going to get their food dropped made for a busy evening. Reports from the instructors are the group is well prepared for their big final challenge and they are learning lots about leadership as well as working as a team.
For the Orange Group the last day on the river was a huge success. Whilst dealing with the cold mornings out on the river and getting down the last few rapids was challenging, they still had lots of fun and made good time. Once off the river they faced a team challenge ‘The Box’, a test of logic, teamwork and patience. They spent the afternoon planning their route for their big final expedition. On this final expedition the group must navigate themselves, planning all aspects from intended route; drop points; possible campsites; emergency routes; and water sources. This team has formed a really tight unit and are about to embark on their final expedition after preparing and planning their route this evening.
Good luck to both groups on final expedition!
Both groups woke up early to begin their final expedition. Yellow group walked down to the Murrindal River and spent extra time exploring the wild caves around the area. They had a fantastic time exploring the Murrindal Caves, which for some, re-ignited their passion for the wilderness. This delay, as awesome as it was, put additional pressure on the group to make up time later in the day. It was a huge day and they kept on walking until dark. As for the Orange group, they smashed their first day of expedition, showing impressive navigation skills and perseverance, demonstrating the lessons they’d learnt throughout the program. Overall both groups are feeling a range of emotions: hot; keen; excited; tired; worn out; and pumped up. The instructors from both groups have commented that it is sensational to see how much each group is really pushing themselves.
It was a big final push from both groups to reach their final check points. There was some tricky navigating and confusing check points. Keeping on the spur lines and staying high were great lessons to be learnt. These last two days have been tough but they learnt how to be patient and how to cooperate during times of stressful situations. It took all of Day 11 for the Yellow group to achieve their last check point and reached it right before last-light. Although tired, they felt ‘stoked; relieved; proud; accomplished; and legendary’! Meanwhile, it was an interesting and challenging last couple of days for the Orange group in some surprising ways. The second day was very wet with some stunning, but tough terrain. Orange group learnt about compassion and teamwork, having to evacuate an injured team member. A 13km last day saw them walk into camp exuberant, but exhausted. Teamwork was the key to achieving their goals.
Overall, it has been an incredible journey for these two groups of Navigators. They have challenged themselves above and beyond what they ever expected and developed some tight friendships and future networks. We wish you all the best striving to be the best you can be into the future!
Outward Bound has partnered with Australian Lions Clubs for over 50 years to give local youth the opportunity to take a unique journey of challenging, yet fun-filled self-discovery. Their contribution ensures that even more young Australians get the chance to discover, develop and achieve their full potential. Outward Bound Australia wishes to thank the following Lions Clubs for sponsoring participants on this program: Nowra, Gerringong, Kiama, Minnamurra, Pambula-Merimbula, Yass, Queanbeyan, Canberra City and Kambah. Also a big thankyou to Marymead, Wenona School and the Australian Outward Bound Development Fund (AOBDF) for sponsoring participants on this program.