During the week starting 19th June, 94 Year 8s and nine members of staff set off for Outward Bound in Aberdovey. The boys were full of nervous anticipation and excitement; the staff, most of whom had been before, were smiling, but a little bleary eyed, as departure was at 0700.
On arrival, the boys were divided into eight groups and immediately launched into their course with the classic Outward Bound ‘jog and dip’: the jog being exactly that, and the dip being full immersion as a team into the sea, which as the air temperature was around 32 degrees, was icy in comparison.
Kurt Hahn, the co-founder of Outward Bound said: ‘We are all better than we know. If only we can be made to realise this, we may never again be prepared to settle for anything less.’ The mission of Outward Bound is to unlock the potential in young people through learning and adventure in the wild.
The adventures and challenges included sea kayaking, canoe journeys, team tasks, high ropes challenges, but also the business of keeping their kit in order, making beds and putting duvet covers on duvets, remaining supportive of each other and following increasingly complex instructions as the instructors gave the teams more and more responsibility.
The highlight of the week for each team was the completion of an overnight ‘expedition’, which is more challenging than what is expected for Bronze DofE, with teams climbing Cader Idris, or trekking for 20 km, carrying their tents, rations and cookers. During this, all the skills of OB are exercised and all the lessons are underlined; their self-reliance was developed and the boys learnt more about themselves, how they interact with others and about the natural environment.
Evidence from past students is that the influence of completing an Outward Bound course will be something the boys can reflect upon and draw strength from for the rest of their school careers, both inside and outside the classroom, and in fact for their future lives.
Miss van der Werff