Hello, and welcome to the blog for Outward Bound Australia’s Young Explorer program! This blog will follow the adventure of the October 2018 program. Throughout the program, check back each day for updates on what is happening. Like what you see? Proud of your young person? Leave a message in the comment section below.
“Ships are safe in the harbor
But that is not what ships are built for”
There was quite the group of family along for the ride as participants gathered at Tharwa to start their Outward Bound adventure. We began with raising the Blue Peter flag, recognising our nautical history and announcing to everyone that the course has started; that the ship has left port.
The participants stretched from super excited to pretty nervous. They said their farewells to family then got into name games, energisers and mentally starting to grasp just what they are up for this week. The group went down to the Ops shed and got all the gear they need, including backpacks, sleeping bags and more. Then it was lunch.
Outward Bound blends activities with reflection, and the first real reflection came with doing the Comfort Zones activity. Through this participants are given some language and ideas to help understand how they’re thoughts, feelings and actions combine, and how to support and encourage each other.
The Giant Ladder activity was next and we could hear their fun even in the office. Everyone had a great go at reaching their goal, and the team work was getting stronger.
The instructors had some one to one chats to help acknowledge and relieve some participant concerns and started group chats as well. This led to participants realising that others were feeling a little home sick as well. Last we saw were multiple torches in the dark along with lots of chatter. Great first day.
The instructors are talking up the blog as an opportunity for budding photo journalists. Here’s what we got from the group today:
Today we went raft building on the Murrumbidgee River. The water was absolutely freezing. We split into 2 teams, the engineers and the riders. The riders were down for the cold and wet ride, and the engineers built the raft. We discussed different types of leaders and what leaders did.
From Instructor Lucas: The raft didn’t actually last that long but everyone had a lot fun trying to build it. The riders first tried the full raft and then, as it fell apart, were trying to sit on the barrels. So many ways to enjoy this activity!
Finally we got warm and dry, filled out stomachs with food, and got ready to conquer a 15 metre rock wall (climbing wall). We scaled the walls as fast as lightning. Some conquered fears while others showed their skills.
We then began our first hike (across the road to a neighbouring farm). We learnt to adjust packs and found that thorns hurt when you walk into them. Then we learnt how to set up the tents (tarps) using sticks that we found.
Another early morning at camp but the group had a fantastic red sunrise. The group has been getting into the adventure of this week and have opted to carry pretty much everything on their 2 day expedition which starts today. They walked down the hill to catch the bus and talked about the leaders of the day and navigation.
The buses dropped them off at the Baroomba Rocks car park and then it was up to them to hike all the way back to Base. Their hike began with a 5 km section to Bushfolds Flats. It took them through a valley with a small Creek at the bottom.
They learnt a new game called camouflage while on the trail; a perfect game for playing in lots of bush. One person is ‘in’ and the others run off to hide. The person in the centre cannot move from the spot and they have to find people just by looking around. After a while the person who is ‘in’ closes their eyes and everyone else has to run in and touch them before hiding again. Each round the amount of time for hiding gets less, and that’s where the fun starts.
They continued the hike to camp. Once there it didn’t take long to set up camp and then the frisbee came out. After eating dinner the group was chatting when the Instructors decided to go hide, making the participants work together together to find them.
It was hot chocolate night and it was delicious. This was followed by the Outward Bound story, and the participants thought about why we were here today. Shortly after, the group lay down under the stars, talked about astrology and sang songs into the night.
In the morning everyone was extremely tired but we managed to pack up all of our belongings. After breakfast we started to walk up into the bush, where we had to “bush bash”. It was difficult to climb as it was getting steeper and spikier the further we went.
We had morning tea at a flat area, which was relaxing. Then we walked up another hill and it was lunch time. After that it was all down hill to the Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre. Afternoon tea was at the Cyprus Pine Lookout. We finally reached camp where we spoke about our fears and how to overcome them.
Overall we had a good, hard day. We worked hard and got through, and the energy in the group is high, despite our tiredness.
Yesterday the group was bush bashing up to the Mt. Tennant saddle and found all the spikey plants possible. Today they were planting those very same plants along the river corridor near Outward Bound as part of an ongoing conservation project.
When they complained to Tim, who was running the session, he told them that these plants are actually a haven for small birds as the bigger birds don’t like to enter the canopy. This didn’t seem to impress this group but maybe later it might seem pretty cool, that is, those plants were helping to create space for everyone. This nicely reflected this group who seemed to have a natural talent for helping create space for each other, and to notice when someone needed a little attention and connection.
It was the last day and the group might finally have worn down their instructors. There was a constant hum around the place as they cleaned and hung up their equipment to dry, tucked into lunch and maintained their bond with a shared secret joke about a rock melon called Cheryl. Great name for a movie.
Thanks for coming to play, and learn, and share at Outward Bound Australia.
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