From unsure to leader, Deron grows with Outward Bound

Henderson High School Year 12 Deron Tildsley arrived at Outward Bound “real unsure”. 21 days later he left with the knowledge that he has the confidence and leadership skills to aim for head boy next year.

Deron, who was sponsored by Moore Markhams, says getting to know the 13 other watch members and accepting them for who they were was his biggest challenge. He found the fact that there was “no background” with the others was a positive but acknowledges that he learnt a lot about himself as he worked out ways to deal with others’ reluctance and their differing ways of reacting to the mental, physical, and emotional challenges of the Mind, Body Soul programme.

“I had never worked as a leader before so I had to learn to delegate and to lead by example by doing the work myself so others would follow,” he says. “Now I know what I need to do and what I can do to be an effective leader.”

Deron also says his awareness of sustainability has increased considerably. He’s making a big effort at home to recycle and be more aware. He’s also looking for ways to ‘give back’, searching out opportunities to volunteer in his community with a changed mindset. “I realise now it’s not all about me.”

He says the food at Anakiwa, the Outward Bound base in Marlborough Sounds, was “amazing” with the home baked breads and desserts high up on his list.

Physically he was challenged, with the temperature gruelling – his programme was during July, with early morning runs and swims bitterly cold – the worst PT session being in the minus three-degree conditions. “All the water surfaces were icy white; I really enjoyed my hot shower that day!”

Half way through the marathon challenge, Deron says he was mentally challenged and started to think about giving up but remembering to live in the moment helped him to keep going.

The support of his watch mates was also a hugely importantly factor. “We had to work as a team and support the less fit, or the fearful and keep them going. We learnt to wait for the slower people and pick up the weight of their gear. It was about depending on each other and remembering it’s not all about me.”

Kayaking was a first for Deron and he says it was “so fun” racing through the rapids. However, flipping over and struggling to get out of the skirt while submerged upside down was “a real uncomfortable feeling, quite scary”.

Deron gives the experience 10 out of 10 and his enthusiasm has already seen a school friend put this name down for next year’s intake.

“Outward Bound has helped me to become more grateful for my food, my family, my shelter. This has all happened because of you. I just want to thank you – I am truly grateful for this experience. I’ve seen myself do greater things, leading, rising to the occasion. You’ve made my life better than it was.” 
- Deron Tildsley, Henderson High School

Deron is pictured in kayak in right below.