Richard Arkinstall, Executive Officer of AWCI, recently attended the two-day Invitational at Outward Bound (OB) as a guest of BCITO. Along with 12 other key industry members, he joined in with 18 BCITO apprentices and other young leaders of the future who were there for the 21-day ‘Classic’ course.
Richard says, "There was a sense of nervous excitement travelling to Outward Bound.Were we going to be staying in a tent solo overnight, sailing one of the cutters, or rock climbing blindfolded? I had heard the stories but until you experience it for yourself, words can’t describe what a fabulous place Outward Bound is.
“We were met at the Picton Ferry terminal by Paula and Kevin our instructors for the two days. After failing miserably to form a human circle (something that eluded us for the entire two days) the members of “Cobham Watch”, as we were to be known, completed introductions/welcome and were straight into sailing the cutter.
Cobham Watch, Richard Arkinstall back row, third from left.
“Something that impressed me right from the go was the level of focus by Paula and Kevin and how much they enjoyed delivering the OB experience to students.
“Once the gear was loaded, we were soon sailing towards Anakiwa with a 30-knot wind. This was great fun and a fabulous introduction to teamwork and getting amongst it. Several hours later upon arrival at Anakiwa, we were greeted (in another Cobham oblong human circle!) by Dave the OB Centre Manager. The little ceremonies and formalities really build the OB experience and made you realise how tight each of the watches become and how unique this experience actually is.”
“For the rest of the afternoon, we toured the site, observed other watches in action then moored the boats off-shore (which meant some of the party had to swim in). Soon we were introduced to an awesome dinner, formality, experience, and ringing of the OB bell. I won’t spoil it here but this all adds to the experience. We then had an amazing evening talking and playing games with the other watches on-site. The openness and enjoyment of the apprentices was startling and had a profound effect on me.
“At 6.15am the next morning the true OB experience continued with morning PT, 3.2km run and morning swim – no double-decaf, soy lattes with cinnamon rolls and yoga mats anywhere in sight here! Just good old challenging and pushing yourself to get fitter and beat your own personal time on the run.
“Breakfast and the morning assembly passed quickly followed by some more unique OB experience on the high-wires in the middle of the forest. Challenging, exciting, battling inner nervousness, hard work all rolled into one three-hour ball of fun – especially the flying fox at the end!
Lunch, kayaking and more observing the other watches in action quickly closed out our 2-day Observer Course. I came away thinking: 'Wow! I want to go back, yet wondering - could I challenge myself to get out of the cosy comfort zone we tend to operate in and spend 21 days at Anakiwa? Yes! It is truly an amazing experience, run by fabulous people and a way to shake off the current cloak of comfort and push yourself into new spaces. Many thanks to Paula and Kevin for the amazing two days, Greg Durkin and Warwick Quinn at BCITO and all my teammates in the Cobham Watch.
Would I recommend OB to anyone, of any age, Hell yes! I’ll be seeing you soon OB.”
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Jayden Renner-Ellis is the newest Monumental Masonry Apprentice and is employed by Glover Memorials in Wellington.