Outward Bound was recently allocated some funding from the Knysna Municipality and these monies were used to fund a leadership programme for young people from the Masithandane and Karatara areas.
Most of the participants did not previous know one another and therefore the whole experience was something new. They had to learn to work with people that they had never met, spend time in the outdoors and to look after not only themselves, but each other as well.
The overall experience was one of meeting new people and making new friends, doing things that they never thought they would ever do, and realising that they are all capable of pushing themselves to new limits and achieving so much more in their lives. The aims of the course were to encourage the participants to explore their strengths and learn more about themselves and their capabilities; to build their self-confidence and provide an opportunity for them to learn how to work with other members of their communities in leadership roles.
The course took place at the Outward Bound base on the Swartvlei outside of Sedgefield where activities such as hiking, camping, abseiling, canoeing, and various other activities were performed by the students. The reasons for participating in such challenges are to learn life skills such as trust, planning skills, perseverance, decision making, tenacity and endurance amongst many others.
At the end of the course, the participants each write an experience letters talking of what they have learned from the different challenges. Following is the letter written by one of the students, Valentine Benson which sums up the whole event :
“So at first I said to myself that this is nonsense! I can’t do all this stuff, but how wrong was I? I surprised myself, I didn’t think I could do all the activities given to me. I am more aware of my responsibilities to help others and myself in my daily life. I was never a person who cared for the environment and everything in and around it. I now understand and feel I have a responsibility toward the environment. The confidence in myself is much higher than it was before. I am now capable of working with other people more effectively.”