Friday, June 8, 2012

When I went Outward Bound: Erik Bertram

During the next few weeks on the blog, we'll be sharing first-hand experience from people who know the world of Outward Bound. You'll hear from one instructor and one participant to help you see if an Outward Bound course this summer is the next challenge in your life! 

Today we'll introduce you to Erik Bertram, our adventuring alumni participant.

Erik was introduced to Outward Bound like many other kids -- through his parents. As a pre-teen, he was fairly active with karate, winter skiing and Scouts. Home life was normal, with two parents and a younger sister. Grades were good and so were his group of friends. He was the type of kid who preferred outdoor adventures with friends over indoor activities with a computer.

"But when I was around 13, I quit [Scouts]," says Erik. "I was still interested in doing some outdoors camps, so my parents suggested Outward Bound."

Erik's first trip was EcoVentures, a former 12-day camp for pre-teens. Joined by other 12-13 year olds, he tried low- and high-ropes courses, orienteering, day hikes, swimming and even a 4-night canoe trip in the wilderness!

Preparing for this first trip was made a bit easier due to his previous outdoor experience. "I had a big hiking pack from Scouts, so I just packed that with everything from the clothing list. Anything I didn't already have I got from Mountain Equipment Co-op."

When it came to mentally preparing for the trip, Erik dealt with his excitement and anticipation by talking to others who knew more than him. "I didn't have too many questions because I was used to overnight camps. But for any small questions, I asked my parents because they knew more of what the course was about."

(FYI: Another great resource for questions and information are Outward Bound staff -- like Megan Kelly, Alberta Course Director. Just leave a comment below, write on our Facebook wall, or tweet @OutwardBoundCan with your concerns/questions. Megan will get back to you ASAP.) 

New Outward Bound students aren't the only ones who feel nervous and excited before a trip. As Megan Kelly said in this previous blog post: "I am always worried that I will forget something or that the trip won't go as I imagined."

But there is great reward to be had from facing a challenge with some unknowns. You'll likely find that the new sights, sounds and activities keep the excitement and anticipation going throughout the course.

"[These feelings] didn't really change," says Erik. "There always seemed to be something fun to do."

Check in with us again on Monday for more of Erik's first Outward Bound experience. And don't forget to ask us questions -- when embarking on the adventure of a lifetime, it's important to prepare. Have a great weekend!

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