Outward Bound: A Student's Perspective

This is the Outward Bound flag. In the nautical world, it means a ship is ready to go out to sea. For Outward Bound, a students real journey begins when they leave the course and take what they have learned with them.
As an instructor for Outward Bound, it's so valuable to hear, from a student's perspective, what they learned on course.

As Ken Peeples, one of the most respected Outward Bound instructors in the organization told me during my instructor training, 'I really became a great leadership instructor and teacher when I stopped talking and started listening to the students.'

Thank you to Kirstin Collins for coming on our trip, and writing this story. I always learn more from students than they could ever teach me.

by Kirstin Collins
North Carolina Outward Bound School
Unity Course Student
Instructors Kaki Flynn & Janae Turner

What’s WITHIN 
Compassionate Leadership
Community Building
Action for Social Change
Moral Courage

The greatest experiences that has truly affected my life has been over this summer, on my Outward Bound Course.  

This past summer when to signed up for the Unity Project and the opportunity to go on the Outward Bound Course, I never would have expected the impact that it would have on my life in the way it did.  

On my course I had more first experiences in that week than I have had in my whole entire life. 

These experiences challenged my beliefs and values. 

They have made me look at things in different points of views, and also have made me aware of different topics not usually discussed in everyday society.  There are so many things that I could write and tell about, from all the different experiences that I have had during this course. 

The most important one to me would have to be a victory that has taught me many lessons that I will have to carry on to succeed.  

It all started on the second day of our ropes course.  

The night before, we had had a disability dinner to go along with the topic Janna and Kaki were teaching us.  

As we all gathered around at the top of the mountain, our instructors told us that we were having a climb that was a bit unusual compared to the day before.  

Kaki and Janae said that we were going to be doing a disability climb. 

Either you were to climb blind folded or with one hand behind your back.  

Watching Sarah and Ben climbing up the rock, I was getting more and more comfortable with the fact that I was soon going to be doing the same. As time passed, I had decided that I was going to climb blind folded. 

By then, I had enough courage to get set to climb.  

At the beginning of my climb, I was alright with the fact that I didn’t have my eyes to see.  

Even with the help of Kaki and Sarah I was still uneasy with that fact, because it is one thing when you are watching someone else climb and another when you are climbing yourself. By the time I was half way up, I started to panic and get frustrated. I felt that I could no longer go any farther.  

I could no longer find any groves in the rock to pull myself up with. I looked to the encouragement of the group members below. They helped me push myself through a time of struggle where I no longer felt I could go any farther. Finally I pushed myself and made it to the top.  

When I reached the top, I threw my blind fold off and took a minute to calm myself.  Seeing and hearing my group below that had helped me push myself past the limit where I could have given up, was priceless.  Sitting on the top of the rock and seeing the magnificent view, I felt something happy inside. 

Some feeling that I had accomplished something so big that nothing could stand in my way.  A victory that couldn’t be put into words. 

The climb that day had taken me past my limits that I had set for myself.  

It made me feel like I could climb and get over any obstacle in that stood in my way. 

Looking back on this day, it has taught me many lessons that I need to use in my everyday life.  

It's taught me that even though you feel like you are not going to make it by yourself you always have someone to push you though it, someone who can give you encouragement, to go that extra mile.  

It has taught me to look deep within myself to get enough strength to do what is best for me.  

The climb has also taught me to not get frustrated with myself, or not to put myself into a state where I feel that I can no longer go on.  

Just try and try again eventually you will make it.   

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