Lizzie's journey to Outward Bound

Inspirational, Fundraising

Hi I’m Lizzie, and I received a scholarship to do an Outward Bound Horizons course – a course specially designed for people with disabilities. Something that wouldn't be possible without the generosity of people that donate to Outward Bound.

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.

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Lizzie sailing the cutter 

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I loved every single activity we did. We built rafts, sailed and rowed a 10 metre cutter in the Queen Charlotte Sound, did PT, conquered the high ropes, prepared meals, and even spent a night solo under a tent fly. 

While at Outward Bound I learnt that I am much more capable than I realised.

Before going I didn’t think I’d be able to physically participate in all the challenges – but I did! I took on the morning run and jumped into the sea without hesitation.

The course showed me that I have good leadership skills. I was able to support other people at times, and I enjoy helping people if I can. I felt like I really relaxed and was able to just allow myself to have fun and laugh.

It is amazing that people who don’t even know me were prepared to donate money so that I could go to Outward Bound. They have given me the gift of confidence, laughter and fun.

The only thing I didn’t like was saying goodbye to the great people I met and knowing I wouldn’t be filling my day with fun challenges anymore.

Since returning home from Outward Bound I’m trying hard to be more confident in my whole life. To be more positive and not give up when I find something difficult.

I’m also giving back by helping in my community. I’m a volunteer for food rescue which supports struggling families, as well as being involved in a youth group.

Since my course I’ve completed Civil Defence training, and successfully completed a First Aid course, so I can help out in civil emergencies.

I feel I have grown as a person. I can stand tall and believe in myself all because I was able to challenge myself in so many ways, even though this sometimes meant doing things that I wasn’t comfortable with.

I have also gained some incredible memories of a special experience that I will have for a lifetime. I think many people would like to do this course but can’t. I feel so fortunate to have been able to take part in such a cool adventure.

Can I invite you to join Outward Bound in making a difference to a person just like me?

Would you be prepared to give the gift of a scholarship to another student like me?

You really can change someone’s life. I hope you can see how much it’s changed my life and that I’d never have been able to go to OB if I had to fund it myself.

I would like to say a big thanks to all the Outward Bound donors because doing the Horizons course was an incredibly positive, fun experience for me.

It’s so awesome that this course is available for people with disabilities, and there are opportunities for people to attend who don’t have much money. These barriers are removed by generous people who give to Outward Bound and I think that’s great.

 

Yours in adventure,

Elizabeth Brothwood-Mckee

Scott 641

 

I'd like to help more people like Lizzie get to Outward Bound

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H641S Scott