Clubbies’ share their Outward Bound experience

Friday, 13 September 2013

For several years now, Outward Bound has offered Surf Life Saving New Zealand a scholarship scheme which has given many of our members the opportunity to try a range of their courses.

Visit the Outward Bound website for more information about their range of courses.

Read about our latest recipients' adventures below. Available stories from:

Craig Dent

Club: East End SLSC
Scholarship: Masters Course
Watch: Scott Watch 584
Date: August 4-13, 2013

I cannot thank you enough for the support you gave me for the adventure of my life. The whole experience was life changing for the best.

Our team of masters, from hour one, bonded to a wonderful group of close friends for life.

As you all must know by now, the things that Outward Bound throw at all who attend their courses, is that it brings your fears to the top and your physical and mental toughness to breaking point.

These are certainly the ways to finding your boundaries and comfort zones.

As a clubbie, I thrived on the water but the bush and heights put me out of my comfort zone.

But that's what the challenge was- to push me and that worked, believe me.

The solo was great, having time to think and ponder my goals and future. This was the time I thought back and said to myself that (if I had the chance) I would not change my past. In all of my (on-and-off) 42 years of Surf Life Saving, it's the best years of my life.

As Outward Bound brought my life, new friends and challenges- so has Surf.

The things I have put together on the course to help myself and my masters swim group will, I am sure, be the making for some to grow their confidence and reach their goals.

 Once again, I thank you all for the chance to attend this wonderful world of adventure.

Signing off.

Written by Craig Dent 

Amy Spierkerman

Club: Paekakariki SL
Scholarship: Classic Course
Watch: Cool
Date: July 7- 27, 2013

Heading down to Anakiwa, I knew I was in for a challenge but I had no idea how much of a challenge! I thought I was in for a bit of an adventure but what I got was so much more than that. Not only was I pushed to my limits physically, but mentally too. At Outward Bound there is a big emphasis on values and being the best you that you can be. Even in the toughest situations, we were defiantly put into some tough situations.

We started off our OB adventure as 14 strangers and left knowing each other better than we could have ever imagined. Together we sailed in 52 kilometre winds, tramped in the snow, kayaked down rapids and completed a half marathon- and in doing this we learned not only about our watch mates but most importantly about ourselves, our values, beliefs, goals and our ability to achieve those goals. While at Outward Bound, I achieved things I never thought possible.

The hardest part for me was the cold. I have never been so cold in my life! Being wet constantly didn't help the situation but I wouldn't have had it any other way- it was all part of the challenge. Being away from home was a lot harder than expected too. It's not often you have no contact with your family and friends. This separation allows you to fully live in the moment and embrace the Outward Bound experience.

Outward Bound was such an amazing experience and I got so much more out of it than I would have ever thought. There were highs and lows and I left with new found motivation. Outward Bound gave me the time and space to step back and look at the path my life was taking. One thing Outward Bound is big on is living in the moment and this is something I am trying to work on now that I am home.

On applying for the scholarship I thought it would be a bit of fun, but I had no idea how much I'd have. I'd like to Thank Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Pub Charity for giving me the opportunity to attend Outward Bound and have this amazing experience.

Written by Amy Spiekerman

201309_Amy _OB1 201309_Amy _OB2

Amy with her watch group (Amy middle front row)

Feeding time


Steph Laughton

Club: St Clair SLSC
Scholarship: Classic Course
Watch: Batten 584
Date: August 4-24, 2013 

Outward Bound was an amazing experience. It was a privilege to attend and I am really grateful for the fantastic opportunity Surf Life Saving gave me. I would like to share some highlights and lowlights during my time at Anakiwa.

I was placed in the Batten 584 watch which consisted of seven females and five males. We became extremely close and it was like living with one big family- this was demonstrated during the concert evening where we performed a song about our time at Outward Bound. It was really surreal to think how much we achieved in only 21 days.

Rocking climbing blind folded, community service, solo, kayaking down rapids- it was all very accelerating. Every new rapid required members of the group to stand with tow bags and keep an eye out for the other members in case someone accidently tipped over and was required to be turned upright again. This is where my lifesaving skills came in handy as some members were not very confident at jumping into the water too often, whereas I didn't mind. Some of the rapids were more challenging than others, so I was kept rather busy.

I really enjoyed the high ropes, especially the flying fox at the end. Learning to sail was a new experience for me. It was really interesting learning about the equipment and what is required to go fast in the wind. I was lucky enough to be the hounds man for an afternoon- this turned out to be a really challenging job in strong winds. Learning to navigate, read a map and compass was a very valuable skill that I learnt during the tramping missions- and one I will use in the future.

To top the days off, we were thrilled to have the most amazing food served to us. It was unbelievable and everyone really looked forward to tea time every night.

I would have to say the hardest part of the course was the 22 kilometre run, especially the last three kilometres where small hills felt like mountains. But I was really proud of myself for running the whole course. Another low point was when I had to visit the local medical centre to get my ingrown toe nail dealt to. Fortunately it was on the mend through self-treatment but they prescribed me some antibiotics to prevent any more infection, which was fantastic and really helped me complete the three day tramp.

Outward Bound was a fantastic opportunity and I am extremely grateful for Surf Life Saving New Zealand for offering me the scholarship. I would highly recommend this course to anyone wanting a new challenge, to learn something about them, or just to have a lot of fun in the outdoors.

Written by Steph Laughton

Steph1 Steph2
Steph and her watch group - Steph right front row Taking a dive

Jo Herrick

Scholarship: Masters Discovery
Watch: Scott Watch Batten 584
Date: August 4-11, 2013 

Thank you to Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Outward Bound for an amazing opportunity to spend eight days with a great group of people and two fantastic instructors of Scott Watch Masters Discovery 584.

My day started by leaving an idyllic Wellington and a very calm ferry crossing.  Team activities commenced straight away at the InterIslander Terminal and a further session in the car park.

On the first night at Te Kainga, we introduced PT (Party Time) and the first of our refreshing swims.  At approximately 8:30pm we jumped into the chilly water and were able to see the twinkling of phosphorescence in the water as we swam back to shore.

We were welcomed to Anakiwa and, after our guided tour, we settled into our accommodation and Iooked forward to what was in store for us next.  We rowed, sailed, conquered the high ropes, hiked, camped out solo and kayaked down the pristine Pelorus River.   We learnt very quickly that the only thing we needed to think about was 'here and now' and not what was happening later or tomorrow.

The biggest challenge for me was the high ropes.  We were buddied up and with support from Craig and instructors on the ground we were encouraged to try things again or add in some extra challenges.  

Being on solo was time to put life into perspective, catch up on some sleep and have quiet time - helped by a good camp site and the sound of the flowing river.

There were many highlights and the activity I enjoyed the most was kayaking down the Pelorus River.  We managed the rapids, fought the sandflies and were very spoilt to have a great day.  Going down rapids backwards, performing 360s, taking in the beauty of our surroundings, watching the smiles and finding a place where I felt totally at peace.  It was an incredible feeling.

It was nearly home time but we had one more task and that was to complete our last run.  We were taken across the bay and started about 7am.  Brendan joined me and said he hadn't run the distance before.  It was great to have a running buddy but also to help Brendan complete the run without stopping by keeping a steady pace.  This was another step in his journey towards completing a half marathon and other challenges.

We never went hungry and the Masters could never be accused of being late for a meal as we were always the first to be lined up.

I recommend anyone to take some time out and do something that you wouldn't necessarily do.  You will make some fantastic friends - share things that they may not share with other people.

Wow - what a fantastic experience and I am privileged to have been selected to attend Outward Bound.

'Most obstacles melt away when we make up our minds to walk boldly through them.' Orison Sweet Marden

Written by Jo Herrick

Jo1 Jo2
Lots of rowing - not much sailing 

What am I doing up here? Getting ready to clap? No - going to put my arms out parallel to the ground.

Dorothee Lampe

Club:  Muriwai 
Masters Discovery
Watch: Scott Watch Batten 584
Date: August 4-11, 2013 

I am so thrilled; I can't wait for challenging my fear of heights again and again - Dorothee Lampe

Working as Surf Education Supervisor for Northern Region in the 2012-2013 season, I read about the Outward Bound scholarships. I've always wanted to go on an Outward Bound course and even wanted to work at Outward Bound- so I was really interested to go.

But I thought I wouldn't be eligible as my role with Surf Life Saving was only contracted for sixth months. Just a few days before the application closing date, someone in the office said to me "nobody applied for the master's course; why don't you apply?" And that's how it all happened. I applied for the Outward Bound masters course (the eight day course for the oldies). In the meantime, my contract was extended and I was chosen to go on the course. That was such exciting news!

On Sunday August 4 I travelled to Anakiwa, the Outward Bound School base in the Marlborough Sounds. I didn't really know what to expect, except for having read the stories of Surf Life Saving members who did the three week course in June. It knew it would be physically, emotionally and mentally challenging and that I would be pushing my limits all the time.

I have challenged myself quite a bit in the 47 years of my life so I wasn't very worried about many of the activities. My big fear was for the high ropes in the trees! I don't like heights and I know this because I've done a fair bit of hiking, some rock climbing and abseiling and a tandem parachute jump in Europe. Last year I went with my step daughter on school camp to Camp Adair where they have a high ropes course and I thought I would not do that, even though the participants are secured with two safety lines.

It proved to be untrue! My biggest challenge appeared to be something completely different. I really enjoyed the high ropes course and I can't wait for the next time that I will be doing a high rope course or challenge my fear of heights in another way. I haven't overcome my fear of heights but I know how to deal with it, and cope with it, without getting paralysed by the fear- thanks to the Outward Bound instructors.

That's why I really recommend anyone to do an Outward Bound course. You learn a lot about yourself and you could learn how to overcome or deal with your fears. It's a lesson for life, another lesson for each individual.

For the readers who are curious about what appeared to be my biggest challenge; it was coping emotionally with the pressure of being pushed beyond your limits all the time and the mental challenge of switching between personal goals and team work.

I was really surprised about my performance and behaviour under this pressure and, if I am very honest, I am quite disappointed in myself (and surprised) about my team performance and emotional appearance during this week. I really don't recognise myself in it but I think it is very instructive to have experienced something that I am not satisfied with at all. If I hadn't had that experience, the week would have been just like a normal active holiday. But I went on the course with a goal; to learn about myself.

The instructors told us that someone in a previous course called the Outward Bound school an 'army run by hippies' and I really like that description. I would like to say to everyone who gets the chance:  apply for the course and go find out yourself… it's more than worth it!

I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who contributed to making this dream come true.

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Outward Bound for the scholarship and also to New Zealand Community Trust for their contribution to making this dream come true. 

Written by Dorothee Lampe