Outward Bound intimidating, exciting, and challenging
By Julia Wade
Another talented and energetic local teenager has recently returned from an inspiring South Island adventure with fresh perspectives and new understandings, after winning Mangawhai Club’s exclusive $5000 Outward Bound (OB) scholarship for 2018.
Rodney College year 13 student Brooklyn Wilson says the 21 day mind, body and soul experience has inherently changed her perception and approach to different situations.
“One of the most foundational things I learnt is there are really no excuses; being too tired, too hungry or too sore or too scared is never an excuse not to do something,” she says. “Also living with 13 strangers and learning to respect and understand their values and choices has changed the way I think.“
Although usually travelling in pairs to the Anakiwa camp site in Marlbourgh Sounds, Brooklyn had to venture out on her own due to fellow recipient Anja Hamelmann needing surgery on her wrist after suffering tendon damage.
Brooklyn confesses when she arrived solo at OB, she was ‘pretty nervous’.
“It was a bit intimidating, I've never been thrown amongst 146 strangers alone before; I had some mixed feelings,” she says. “But every one of us were much the same – a big mass of nerves, anticipation and excitement.”
However with a highly energised, adventure-packed itinerey including whitewater kayaking, sailing, high rope walking, trekking, and wilderness camping, Brooklyn soon found herself thriving in the challenging environment.
“I was so entirely in my element and couldn't think of any other place I would rather have been,” she says. “We really hit the floor running, I remember being quite overwhelmed with how little time we got to think and how fast paced everything was including moving around the campus; we never walked anywhere!”
Being active and taking on challenges is nothing new to the self-confessed nerd, who is studying at an academic year above her age ‘which is challenging but equally rewarding’, as well as competing in a range of sports including netball, football and equestrian events. A leader for her school Wattenbach house, Brooklyn is also involved in tramping and is completing her silver Duke of Edinburgh award.
Brooklyn says what she enjoyed the most was the ‘really challenging hours’ experiences where she learnt more about herself and her Watch mates.
One such event was when her team had been awake since 4am, rowing and sailing all day since sunrise, with dwindling rations.
“But then we were blessed with the most amazing sunset across the Queen Charlotte sounds. The water was bright red with reflection and it lifted every single one of our spirits. Despite our lack of dry warm clothes, we all jumped off the boat, swam until pitch black and were illuminated by the bioluminescence. It was such a special night, definitely one of our highlights,” she says.
“We really focused on embracing everything – the good and bad – that came our way. I think this is something that will stick with me forever. Its like, ‘it's inevitable, you've got to do it anyway, why would you choose not to enjoy it?’ I think purely that mind-set will impact my future and how I choose to build my life once I've left school and home next year.”
The biggest challenge, says Brooklyn, was coming home and adapting back into her pre-OB lifestyle with her new outlook, without the support of her new friends and instructors.
“When people ask why I applied for the OB scholarship I really can't think of any answer other than, why would you not?” she says. “I really did have the time of my life, I’m eternally grateful to the club for giving me the opportunity and continuing to offer it to the youth of Mangawhai, it means so much more to us than they know.”
On the first day of a great adventure, Brooklyn Wilson (front, second from left) with her Watch – team members that sleep, eat and take on challenges together for the entire three weeks.