Building confidence and self-belief, benefits of Outward Bound for Caeli

Caeli O’Brien is happy to tell anyone that Outward Bound is an incredible, not-to-be-missed opportunity.

The 17-year-old Hastings Girls’ High School student from Waipawa, celebrated the end of lockdown with a 21-day ‘Mind Body and Soul’ programme at Anakiwa with the support of Moore Markhams.

She went with the hope of understanding herself better, to see what she was capable of, and to push beyond her boundaries. She achieved that and a lot more.

“I’ve got a much better sense of my own worth now, the value of me as an individual. I appreciate what I have and don’t take it for granted,” she says. “I’m more mindful and I think I can understand others better now, to see things for their perspective.”

She has also come to realise that the boundaries we put on ourselves are limiting and is keen to experience more of life, finding more challenges to conquer. To this end Caeli is keen to take on more leadership at school and has since applied for prefect roles for her final Year 13 year. “I’m more confident about what I can do,” she says.

The Year 12 student works at a Central Hawke’s Bay supermarket part-time and says she’s now making more effort to interact with her workmates.

This is a direct result of what she learnt after time with spent the other students at Outward Bound. She says being in a big group of people “all the time for that length of time” was a challenge, particularly as there were people with attitudes and opinions that clashed and who weren’t initially positive about the experiences.

The upside was that she learnt how to better understand others and appreciate they had their own challenges. Now she has a lot of good friends from her time, keeping in touch over social platforms with a face to face catch up planned soon.

One of her highlights was her ‘solo time’ of two nights and one full day on her own – “awesome” is her verdict of that introspective time.

Another was the sailing experience. “It was perhaps the most challenging but the most enjoyable for me. I found it such a cool experience because it was so wild, and the wind was insane! We were blown everywhere and almost capsized a few times.

“That was challenging because we were alone on the boat and didn’t have much confidence. It was also the most fun because we were all pushed the furthest from our comfort zone and that’s where the adrenalin rush came in and we found it so cool.”

The three-day sailing mission had instruction on the first day before the watch of 13 students went solo, with the instructors following close behind in their own launch boat.

All the watch members had shifts of being the Rangatira (leader) to keep everyone on the right track.

A further highlight was what Caeli calls the “mind building” work. Being taught to stick to your beliefs and your values and making sure you are understanding yourself properly before you try and understand anyone else. “It was very cool and confidence building.”

Moore Markhams has sponsored four students from around the country over the last two years and will be supporting more in the years to come.

Photo caption: Outward Bound Kaweka Watch 2020 provided our sponsored student, Caeli O’Brien with heaps of challenges! Ironically Moore Markhams Hawkes Bay director, Hamish Pringle had just returned from an eight day adult programme so had lots to compare with Caeli.