As participants in January’s fundraising expedition to Kilimanjaro, Leslie and Bill were able to experience OBC in a new way, pushing themselves at a turning point in their professional and personal lives, and – through their fundraising efforts – helping to ensure that the Outward Bound experience will be around to benefit as many people as possible for years to come. (Like to do the same? Check out our Reach Beyond fundraising expeditions.)
Hear firsthand what Leslie and Bill have to say about their amazing Kili experience:
"It was a fateful day last October when we ran into our old friend Sarah Wiley at an open house at the Norval Outdoor School, and she inquired about our plans for the winter. "Would you like to climb Kili with me?”, she said, and within a week we were signed up for the OBC Mount Kilimanjaro Reach Beyond Fundraising Expedition and commencing a flurry of preparations.
If only life could always be so spontaneous! The truth is, Bill and I are teachers on a "4 over 5" deferred leave from our employers (Bill is the Director of the Norval Outdoor School for Upper Canada College, and I am an elementary music teacher for the Halton District School Board) and the timing of Sarah's suggestion was perfect. Having been instructors for Outward Bound (way back when the eastern OB school was nicknamed "Cobwebs") we had observed that adults especially seemed to take OB courses in times of transition in their lives. With 50 birthday candles in recent memory, a looming 25th wedding anniversary, children in university and still recovering from the loss of three of our parents, we were primed to be participants in an Outward Bound experience.
We both enjoyed the physical challenges of both the trip and its preparation. Hiking at high altitude was a new and challenging experience for us, but we always felt safe with our incredibly competent and experienced OB leaders Sarah and Lenka, and Gerald and his team of Tanzanian mountain guides from Chagga Tours. It was extraordinary to hike through vastly different ecosystems from rain forest to alpine tundra in a few days.
The Kilimanjaro expedition was the trip of a lifetime. It would have been amazing in any event, but it was especially great to be in a group with like-minded people with a common purpose. Everyone in the group came to the trip with a connection to OBC, and brought different strengths to the team, with a caring spirit in common.
It was also meaningful for us to do an expedition with a fundraising element for an organization that is so close to our hearts. As a past Course Director for Youth-at-Risk programs, Bill knows through first-hand experience the value of OBC's core programs. Our own world view had been shaped by working for the Outward Bound schools in Australia and Canada when we were first married. We truly believe in the transformative value of wilderness experiences in a co-operative environment.
Going to Africa changes ones world view. We feel like we have barely had a peek at the culture there, and hope someday to return to Eastern Africa for more travel and maybe even some volunteering as teachers."