I was so excited to be selected. I had always wanted to go to Outward Bound, but never thought I’d get the opportunity because we don’t have much money. Then I found out that there are generous people who donate money to help people like me do a course.
I enjoy activities that challenge me physically and mentally and I thought that Outward Bound would provide lots of opportunities for this. I knew that I wanted to have fun, make new friends, and most importantly, develop my self-confidence; all things I need to work hard at.
I was born with autism, so I haven’t had the easiest start to life. I was only six months old when I was placed with my first foster family. I spent the next four years moving around foster families, from one house to another, all over town.
I never had a long term stable home with set routines, like family dinners and bedtimes. Some homes were good, but others didn’t go so well. Sometimes I didn’t bother unpacking or trying to get to know the family. I often didn’t know when and why I had to move again. I have moved so many times that nowhere feels like home to me.
I’m 20 now and live with my Mum who has lung disease and requires oxygen 24/7, so I have to be around to look after her. It can get pretty lonely for me and it’s hard to get away because Mum really needs me to be there with her.
Getting the Outward Bound scholarship was just the first step of many to get to Anakiwa. As Mum’s primary caregiver, getting away for eight days to Outward Bound wasn’t going to be easy.
Thankfully, I had wonderful support from my friends, my mother’s hospice support workers, and my own support worker who all helped me schedule her care. Everyone was on board to make it possible for me to take this opportunity.
When I first got to OB I was nervous and shy, but after only one day of getting to know the others in my watch, I was feeling comfortable.