Outward Bound – the opportunity of a life time

Julia’s team of 14 on a 3-day sailing adventure

Julia Coppens on a three-day tramp

"If you have the opportunity to go on an Outward Bound course, grab it" said Julia Coppens on her return from the 21-day leadership programme at Outward Bound. "It takes you out of your comfort zone; it challenges you, but you get to experience so many different activities, and you get so much out of it".

Julia won the inaugural Sumner Ferrymead Foundation Outward Bound Scholarship last year, and has just returned from Anakiwa. For three weeks she and her cohort of 14 people aged 18-26 spent 24 hours a day together – from tramping, sailing and running through to bunking down together, exhausted, at the end of the day. Towards the end of the course, they went solo for three days in the bush; a stark contrast, but a chance to sleep and reflect.

"What really impressed me was each activity had three components. Beforehand we discussed the challenges we would face and learnt skills to manage our fears. For me the high ropes were the hardest, but because of pre-work we did, it was fine. And after completing the activity we had time to reflect on what we had achieved and learnt, and then write in our journals. There is also a strong focus on team work so at the end of the course we were a very tight group. We’re planning on meeting up in 12 months to walk the Queen Charlotte Track together."

Julia is training to be a primary school teacher, and a lot of the skills she learnt on the course she will not only apply in her own life but will also use with her students. "Sometimes opportunities present themselves and for various reasons we are hesitant to grab them. But one thing Outward Bound teaches you is to seize opportunities when you see them. I am so grateful to the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation for providing the scholarship and to my parents for encouraging me to apply."

Jane Paterson, Chair of the Sumner Ferrymead Foundation, said the Foundation was delighted to again offer two scholarships to Outward Bound: the 21-day Leadership programme for 18-26 year olds and the Adapted programme for people with disabilities. "When you hear Julia’s stories and see the photos of her amazing experience, I’m just so pleased we are able to offer the scholarships again."