Welcome to the Blog for our Australian Alps Young Explorer program. Follow along as these daring youth undertake their adventure at our National campus and in the nearby spectacular Namadgi National Park. Here you will find updates from the program including a written and photographic account of each day’s events. Sometimes the kookaburras take some time to fly the news back to civilisation, so apologies in advance if a day’s adventures come in a bit late! Please join in and leave your comments; we’d love to hear from you!
Today is the first day of program. The school holiday airline rush provided an additional, precursory challenge for some of our travelling participants, but everyone has now arrived safely. Getting into the action right away, our Young Explorers got stuck into The Cube, an initiative that develops team work and teaches about the benefits of having a common goal. This evening, they learned how to master their fire-making skills and cooked up their first dinner. They are on track to making their week extraordinary!
After spending an hour working diligently on building a raft-boat, our Young Explorers had the opportunity to put their creation to the test by launching it into the Murrumbidgee River. The reward of hard effort was sweet indeed, as the raft was solid and provided the perfect ride. Well done team!
In the second part of the day, it was time to take on the Giant Ladder challenge. True to its name, the Giant Ladder is part of the high-ropes family. The rungs start at a manageable distance apart, but each gap broadens, requiring adventurers to think creatively and cooperatively in order to reach the top. What a great way to learn that sometimes the challenges we face are easier to overcome when we have help from our friends and a support team behind you.
Our Young Explorers wouldn’t be learning too much though, if they only ever experience success. It appears they are currently being bamboozled by an initiative challenge known as the “Electric Fence”. We’ll keep you posted on their progress.
On the topic of learning, one of the outcomes to our Young Explorer program is the development of self-awareness. We would like to share with you the ‘quote of the day’ that has been reflected on by the participants throughout their adventures today:
I shall pass the way but once; any good therefore that I can show, or any kindness… let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Etienne de Grellet
The native wildlife have been putting on a show today. Certainly, the biggest learning for today has been to appreciate the world and the animals living around us. First there was a possum that decided to join in the overnight fun of the camp site. While bush-walking through the Orroral Valley, our Young Explorers came across a blue-tongue lizard and several kangaroo mobs. Navigation skills have been quickly learnt and the team are conquering the initiative challenges thrown their way… except for the Electric Fence!
Today was also the day that all participants were given the opportunity to take on leadership roles. Everyone experienced what it is like to stand in front of your peers and make decisions. The main tasks were to manage navigation, shelter set-up, and starting and maintaining the fire.
Considering the curiosity of the local wildlife and beauty of the Orroral Valley, today’s ‘quote of the day’ is fitting indeed:
Must we always teach our children with books? Let them look at the mountains and the stars up above. Let them look at the beauty of the waters and the trees and flowers on earth. They will then begin to think, and to think is the beginning of a real education.
Part of the Outward Bound philosophy is service to our environment. In keeping with this principle, our Young Explorers participated in a session of tree planting as part of an ongoing bush regeneration project. Later on, they were more physically and emotionally challenged by the climbing wall. Some of our team showed real prowess at this activity, making to the top of almost all the routes.
The mental initiatives are still constantly part of the learning experience. Today’s initiatives were ‘Marble Run’ and ‘Magic Hat’. Neither were completed to full success, but they were extremely close!
Our Young Explorers are getting into the quote-of-the-day and starting to develop their own. The one that has come back to us is “I think this is more challenging that it appears!”
The biggest learning today however was the web of life and how interconnected out environment is. We encourage you to you ask your Young Explorer to tell you the ‘fishing net’ story. Today’s environmental theme is well reflected in the Outward Bound Australia quote-of-the-day:
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, [we find] it attached to the rest of the world.
The final day! We are sure that the families of our Young Explorers are looking forward to their return. Before we let them go, there’s just one more lesson and challenge to achieve, focusing on always being willing to put yourself out there and give life a go. The final activity to embrace this was the Giant Swing. Again part of the high rope family, the Giant Swing has participants being hauled upwards to a height of their choice by the team. Once ready, you pull a release chord, and the swing begins! It’s the pulling of that string that is the most confronting part of the activity, but sometime the thing we are challenged by the most turn out to be our greatest highlight.
From all of us here at Outward Bound Australia, and especially from the ones who worked directly with our Australian Alps Young Explorers, we wish you safe travels to your families. We hope that you enjoyed yourself throughout your program, made new friends, and experienced deep, real and personal learning. We wish you all the best for your future challenges, and impart you with this final quote-of-the-day:
The important thing… is not to win, but to take part; the important thing in Life is not triumph, but the struggle; the essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
Pierre de Coubertin
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