Even though it happened three decades ago, Lower Hutt man Philip Barry says his Outward Bound experience has stayed with him throughout his life.
“It was 1981. I volunteered in my youth and enthusiasm. I was looking to challenge myself and learn new skills.”
Although he enjoyed running, football and cricket and had some tramping, Mr Barry says he was not that familiar with the outdoors.
“Outward Bound exposed me to kayaking, canoeing and sailing. It opened up the frontier.”
Mr Barry enjoyed the experience. “It was tough. You don’t go there for a holiday. They push you out of your comfort zone and put you under pressure.”
His most memorable experience was Solo – surviving in the bush for three days and two nights with very little food. “You had to stay in a very small area. There was no entertainment- you just have to survive. It’s a bit scary – two nights in the bush with no one to talk to. It’s something I’d never experienced before.”
Mr Barry says the nights were hard, while he also had to put up with snow.
But despite these hardships he made it through to the end of his 24-day course. “The first think I thought is that I need a beer. I was exhausted and exhilarated. I learned about myself and about teamwork.”
He says he learned some important lessons. “Every single person has something to offer. We don’t all have to be a Bear Grylls. No one is good at everything. But everyone is good at something.”
Now a self-employed economics consultant living in Lower Hutt, Mr Barry is encouraging his two sons – now university students – to take on the Outward Bound challenge.
In 2012 Outward Bound celebrates its 50th birthday. A documentary to mark the event screens on Prime on Thursday (April 19) at 7.30pm. To find out more go to www.outwardbound.org.nz