Outward Bound, a life-changing experience

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Cause related, Uncategorised

An opportunity

We recognise that our people are the key to our success. As a result, we put a lot of emphasis on their professional and personal development. As a firm, we focus on our external impacts as well as our internal culture. The value we place on empowering people extends to the causes we work with. When Debra Dorrington was asked to nominate someone who would benefit from an Outward Bound scholarship; she thought Peter Jeffries at CORT Community Housing might be able to recommend a recipient.

Outward Bound is not for the fainthearted. It helps people see their full potential through outdoor challenge and adventure. Building transferable life skills and attitudes applicable to work, study and home are the goals. CORT clients often face huge challenges to get back on track so we were keen to help with a life-changing hand-up.

The experience

Peter suggested Reagen, a Māori business law student attending AUT. She wants to major in economics and minor in Te Reo. She’s also part of the Māori law society at AUT this year. Reagen is a mother of a 2-year-old and a tenant with CORT community housing. We kitted her out in some hiking boots and other essentials and helped her get to Anakiwa and back.

Reagen’s group included 13 others from all over Aotearoa and one from Hong Kong. Their 21-day course taught her to be ‘comfortable with the uncomfortable’. It included multiple schemes. Two days kayaking, one day rock climbing, two days paving paths for the Anikiwa to Picton track, a three-day solo bush experience, three days sailing, five days tramping and a final 21km run.

She wrote thanking us and CORT. Describing her time as ‘not easy’ which probably takes our national tendency for understatement to a new level. Reagen explained how the feeling of achievement after overcoming the mental challenges will stick with her for life. A highlight was climbing a mountain with 20 kilos in her pack in saturated socks – just one of the many physical challenges thrown at her group.

An excerpt shared from Reagen’s diary


“The hardest thing for me was jumping into the water every single day. This is because it was icy and as soon as you jump in, your body experiences a sense of shock and panic. It was excruciating, especially at 6 am most mornings. We would conclude our 3-4k run with a splash in the fresh water every morning or if we were lucky in the afternoon when the sun was shining. We had to do that every day.

The first challenge happened on day 1 and that was to leave all our books and most importantly cell phones in a locked cupboard. A thing not many people could live without for 21 days, especially in this day and age! We were forced to create, form and build relationships ‘the old fashioned way’. To learn about ourselves and others and adapt to personal developments and changes.

The next challenge was the ‘unknown’ and speaking for myself I felt like I needed to mentally prepare for the tasks that were thrown at us. In fact, in hindsight, it was the complete opposite that helped me through it. Our instructors gave no warning for the tasks that we were about to do. They only informed us if we needed to pack or prepare equipment. “Ma te wa” a Māori phrase was used very frequently when we asked our instructors what was happening. It means ‘in future time, or I’ll see you in the future”. Future questions didn’t need to be addressed at that point. You can imagine our frustration at not knowing!

We overcame numerous challenges and I’m super happy to have had the opportunity to do so. I feel privileged and special to have been a part of my group, Kupe 645, to be one of the very few 60,000 people to attend Outward Bound. My goals were to participate, contribute, support and complete every task.”

Kupe 645

The goal

Reagen’s Outward Bound experience took place in Anakiwa, a coastal region of Marlborough which sits at the head of the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. The course aims to help participants let go of their preconceived beliefs about their own ability and return home in control, ready to lead the life they want to live. Peter tells us the course has given Reagen a huge boost of confidence and no doubt a number of other insights and skills in life. He hopes it will give her the confidence to complete her study.

An inspiration

Congratulations to Reagan and all those who have the opportunity and tenacity to complete Outward Bound. Debra admires this achievement having participated herself. Reagen has shown she has the determination to get where she needs to be and the self-belief to guide her. As a result; she will inspire others and so it continues.

By Rachael Stevenson

By <a href="" target="_self">Rachael Stevenson</a>

By Rachael Stevenson