I had the chance to attend a residential trip with 30 other girls from my school on Friday 14th of September – Sunday 16th of September.
We went to one of the many Outward Bound sites in England; this one however, was the original site in Aberdovey Wales; where everything had started way back in 1940s.
On the first night we camped under the stars and woke to the sound of bleating sheep who attempted to knock down our tents. The second day we built a raft near the docks of the beautiful Aberdovey Village, we also did the jetty jump by which we jumped from the docks into sea. On the same day I had the best bubblegum ice cream ever, and completed several team building exercises.
On the last day, I did an activity that took my courage than anything I have ever done in my life. The High Balance Challenge.
The challenge involves climbing a podium, and jumping off. I remember being the last to go up. Climbing the podium; I so determined to reach the top platform and jump off successfully, and with each step I took higher, the surer I was in completing the task… but then… I looked down… and my, was it a long way down…
“Nice wobble you got going there Dawn!” The teacher cheered below me. Wobble? I suddenly realised my legs were shaking and the whole podium was trembling with me like there was an earthquake happening! Oh, My, God. I’m can’t do this!
I suddenly panicked; I was drowning in immense fear and turmoil. It’s strange because in primary school, I had done an activity like this before, where I stood atop and was expected to jump down – I did – actually, I remember the instructor just pushing me off the platform.
Yet here I was once more. Why was I even doing this again?
That’s when it hit me like a brick. The instructors at Outward Bound didn’t expect me to do this; they didn’t tell me I had to climb this pole or reach the top! In fact, they never really expected me to do anything… My instructor – Jo – never said ‘reach the top’ in fact, all she said was:
Whilst my vision blurred, my heart pounded and my uneasy breathing was faltering, I heard her voice echo in my head. I took a deep breath, blinked my tears away and … jumped! I swung in the air with harness supporting me allowing me to fly through the air and gracefully land on my feet. I wiped my tears at the bottom as all my friends and peers came running towards me to congratulate me with a warm embrace! I had done it. I faced my fear!
I cannot even begin to explain the sense of accomplishment and pride I felt in myself when I reached the bottom. I felt as though I could accomplish anything – be it heights, camping, building a raft or even a zombie apocalypse. Even now just recalling back to that moment; all those moments; all I can think to myself is ‘Wow, I actually did that. I did it!’
So when I came home on a Sunday night, back to the reality of school, homework, stress and exams; I found myself just remembering the fact that I faced my fear. I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
And that’s the beauty of it all. Every activity we did, either taught us a valuable lesson or skill that would aid us in the future or helped us discover the amazing people we can be – that we are – and the endless possibilities we are capable of: like graduating from school, attaining the grades we want and creating the future we all dream of.
Outward Bound was more than just a residential trip for me, it was a plunge into the unknown, and when it ended, I had found that I had discovered another part of myself, a better side to myself. And I don’t think there is a greater gift than that.
So I’d like to Thank the teachers for organising this trip and the Outward Bound staff for taking us in and assisting us in having an amazing time. Thank you for everything.
And I’d especially like to thank Jo, for offering me the chance to return back to Outward Bound via Scholarship. I can’t wait to return in the summer and experience all the emotions I did that weekend all over again! More than that, I can’t wait to find out what amazing person is really hiding behind this shy smile of mine.
I look forward to my return…
– Love Dawn
P.S Bonus Picture time!