'We aim to really push their comfort zone'
TESTING one's skills against the forces of nature has long been a challenge of society, and sadly, one many of our modern youth are dismally equipped to face.
Enter Outward Bound, an organisation which aims to challenge the youth of today by putting them to the test in an adventure-filled course designed to tests their wits and survival skills.
Run in the spectacular rainforest at Kunghur, at the foothills of Mt Warning, the program is targeted at both youth and adults, who are keen to challenge themselves.
Outward Bound client manager Hayden Goldstraw said the program was learner-led and student driven.
"We get the guys out of their comfort zone, into an unfamiliar environment in this lovely area we have here in the Tweed,” Mr Goldstraw said.
"We aim to really push their comfort zone, to test their limits, to show them what they have in them, to help them discover and achieve the potential that they have.”
Separated into younger and older teams (the longer course), the programs are based on a journey or expedition through the wilderness, with course members starting at base camp where they pack their food and equipment into backpacks and set off for several days.
"They head out into our circuit, they could be hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, whatever mode of transport they need,” Mr Goldstraw said.
"Along the way they will run into different challenges that the instructors throw at them... like abseiling, high ropes, giant ladder. These are put their for a purpose, to build resilience.”
Each night, the students must set up their tents, cook around a fire, collect wood, organise who's cooking, who's cleaning, who's the leader.
"It is often life changing for our participants,” Mr Goldstraw said.
"It helps young people realise there is more in them than they know, and how they can apply this to the rest of the program, their home life, their school life and then moving onto their early careers and beyond.”
Originally set up after the Second World War to help young sailors build resilience, the program is now run in 40 countries around the world, including in several areas of Australia including Canberra and the Grampians in Victoria.
Each country tailors the course to suit their environment. Mr Goldstraw said the course was aimed at helping the youth of today build resilience, compassion and realise their worth.
Two courses will be run in the upcoming school holidays, with limited places still available. Funding assistance is available.