Paige's Journey

Inspirational, Life after OB

Kia ora!

My name is Paige,

I was always getting into trouble at school, so I was surprised when my counsellor told me I’d been chosen to represent our school at Outward Bound I thought there were so many others much better than me, but they chose me!

My teachers said they could see I had potential – I just needed help to figure it out. They thought OB could build up my confidence and teach me some life skills.

Thanks to caring donors I was gifted a scholarship for a 21-day Mind Body Soul course I am writing to ask you to care for someone else like me.

I was so excited about the scholarship. My only challenge would be convincing Mum to let me go.

I live with my mum and my younger half-brother. I’m the one responsible for looking after him before and after school, and most weekends - whenever Mum wants to go out.

When I told her I wasn’t going to be there for three weeks we had a huge argument. She told me that Outward Bound would be too much for me and that I’d never be able to go because I just wasn’t up to it physically or mentally.

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She also asked how she was meant to cope without me there to look after my brother. She said I wasn’t allowed to go - three weeks was too long away. But I was determined to go and not let the amazing opportunity pass by.

I feel like I’ve raised myself, I don’t feel like my parents have been parents.

My Mum was a wild teenager - she was into drugs and alcohol from an early age. When she was seventeen, she fell pregnant with me. 

I don’t see my Dad too often. He doesn’t do too much in the way of ‘feelings’ and doesn’t want to make problems - he likes an easy life.

My Dad’s partner is really kind, she doesn’t like me living with Mum, she doesn’t think it’s safe. She’s asked my Dad about me living with them but he’s never come to get me.

I started drinking and smoking when I was eleven. I continued until I was 16, only stopping when I knew I’d been selected for OB.

I gathered up all my courage and told Mum she couldn’t stop me going to Outward Bound and she would have to sort out someone else to look after my brother while I was away. She knew she couldn’t stop me – nothing was going to stop me!

Being at Outward Bound showed me how happy I can be I came back a lot more confident, I feel like I found out who I am and what I’m capable of.

At OB we were all given the opportunity to develop our leadership skills I got a bit carried away and became watch mother. Eventually, our instructors told me to step back and let others have a go – well the very next morning we were late to PT, and yes, we paid for it – 100 press-ups!

A highlight for me was the solo I loved just chilling with the most beautiful view over bush and water. I could see the ferry go past and the stars at night. I had time to reflect on what had been happening to me at OB and where I wanted to go.

I just loved my instructors I was able to open up to them about everything in my life and they were so supportive I bawled my eyes out saying goodbye to everyone.

I was so sad. I felt like I’d just met my own wee family and they were a happy stable family.

Since returning, I’ve been keeping in regular contact with my new family through a group chat. We’re hoping to meet up again soon. We have such a strong bond; we’ve been through the hardest experiences together - we’ve seen each other at our best and worst.

My Mum, school and friends are surprised to see the difference in me I can’t stand being around smoking and drinking now.

Since I returned my Mum treats me more like a flatmate. I’m in my final year of school and I really need her support, but she still just wants to party. My social worker is looking for alternative accommodation for me. It’s hard to believe my Mum had me at the same age I am now.

At school, I’ve been given a student leadership role I’m Peer Support Coordinator – responsible for student wellbeing. I love the role I can relate to a lot of teenage problems I’m like a mentor for younger students.

Before OB I was ready to just stop and drop out of school and give up. I had no plans for a job. Now I can see a pathway ahead of me. I’m going to finish Year 13 then do a Diploma in Sustainable Outdoor Education. I’m also thinking that maybe I should get a teaching degree.

It’s just been amazing to do Outward Bound and I want to thank all the donors SO much for giving me this opportunity. I’ve been able to see my potential, know happiness, and feel like I belong.

I wish everyone could go to Outward Bound. I think the world truly would be a better place. Donations, whether large or small, will help unlock the future for other young people just like me.

Yours in adventure,

Paige 

 

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Paige