Thursday, September 10, 2015

Alumni Profile: Adetayo and Nahyan

Adetayo and Nahyan have a lot in common. Both young men are 17-years-old, live in London, England, and are new residents in the UK. Moving to a new country is an incredibly challenging transition for many young people, but these young men are full of drive and resilience. While they did not know each other before the course, through their OBC experience and the support of the Stuart Horne Bursary, these young men came out of their shells and truly connected with their group, facing the challenges of the journey head-on and realizing they were capable of so much more than they ever thought.

We spoke with Adetayo about his OBC experience:

What impact did your Outward Bound Canada experience have on you?

Honestly, it made me really trust the outdoors. I saw it as uncertain and I was quite alien to it, so I never really opened myself up to it until Outward Bound. Back home I stayed indoors more and more, so you can imagine just how far out of my comfort zone I was. It made me more open to everything, and showed me how the outdoors is a surprisingly good distraction from the problems at home. It really allowed me to realize who really cared about me, along with who I really cared about also. It shaped my outlook on a lot of things and taught me to not be so hard on myself. Honestly, I feel like I more or less grew up on that trip, so it's three weeks of my life I will never forget. I'll definitely do some more outdoor activities.

What do you take away from the course and bring back into your life at home?

One of the things I felt really stuck with me throughout the course was the ways in which we [the group] had to deal with conflict. At first, we didn't know each other so well, and then, within 5 days, BAM! We're inseparable. The experiences we had up until practice final only lengthened our honeymoon period so it was quite amicable up until then. After practice final, it really taught me that conflict is inevitable. No matter how well you get on with someone it'll always happen, so no relationship is a smooth road. At the same time, I'm thankful that we all realized this from that moment on because conflict is a natural thing. It's not a bad thing either. So I'll definitely use it to begin to repair some burnt bridges (I had lots of them!).

What would you tell others who are thinking about potentially taking an Outward Bound course?

If you're sure about this, then take the plunge and just do it. If you're unsure about this, then take the plunge and just do it. You'll meet some of most genuine people from across the globe, ready to welcome you with open arms. If you feel restricted at home or want the chance to explore some of the toughest but all the more vibrant settings in the world, I'd encourage you to apply. There are cons as you'll soon find out, but it's overcoming these things that'll make it all the more worthwhile. 

Check out a video Adetayo and Nahyan created of their experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Donor Profile: Abigail Whitney

Often times our donors are alumni, having participated in one of our incredible, indelible experiences and leaving forever changed. Abigail is no exception, having started off on her Outward Bound Canada journey as a participant in one of our Women of Courage courses. Abigail now donates monthly to give back, and - while our monthly donor program is still growing - we think her reasons for donating are so inspiring that we had to share.

“I swore, I struggled, I cried but my fellow trippers refused to let me give up or give up on me. I was going to get that canoe from one end of the portage to the other on my own. And I did. Staggering onto that beach at the end, my face a mess of tears and my shoulders aching, I was overwhelmed. Not just by what I had done but how it echoed what I had done on that very day six years earlier. One of our leaders – Phyllis – came up to me as I sat by the water, hugged me and said “Happy Birthday mama.” Indeed. My boy’s birthday and that epic portage were on the same day. 

What had brought me to that moment in my life was because Outward Bound had gifted me with the opportunity to join in a one-week long Women of Courage course. With me would be eight other women all of whom were in various stages of recovery, and three wonderful, giving leaders. 

I made it through the week and it became a touchstone for my personal growth. I am in a loving and equal relationship now and have two awesome teen boys. I am thrilled to be in a position to give back to Outward Bound as a monthly donor. I love that the money I give will enable some other person to embark on their own healing journey, a journey that is guaranteed to move and touch them - and others in their lives - for the better.”