A letter from Chris and Logan - Outward Bound

A letter from Chris and Logan

Inspirational, Scholarship Recipients

When I found out my 13 year old foster son Logan had the wonderful gift of a scholarship to Outward Bound and he needed an adult to accompany him I knew it had to be me!

Chris and Logan

He’d only been with us for four months when we found out about Outward Bound through his Child, Youth and Family social worker, who thought that Logan would benefit from a course. 

The only problem was that Logan was just 13 – too young to go alone.  Then we discovered he could go on the Leaps and Bounds course if he had an adult willing to do it with him.  At 70 I knew this was going to be a challenge.  But I did it! That is why I am writing to you today. 

I want to share our story with you so that you know the donation that you make does make a difference. In fact, it changes the lives of young people like Logan every day.

Logan came into my life when my partner Debbie – who had been Logan’s teacher aid for two years – came home one day and told me that she wanted to look after him. She asked me and our 18 year old son if she could bring Logan into our family.

I have always believed that when you see someone that needs help you just have to do what you can, it’s the right thing to do. I wanted to do what I could to break the cycle.

I’m so pleased we said yes. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

I didn’t always think that way. At first Logan was pretty obnoxious. He was withdrawn and didn’t trust anyone. I was expecting excessively bad behaviour, but it was more that he didn’t want to do anything – Logan was just against everything.

Every request was met with resistance and continually questioned by Logan. I would say “can you do the dishes please?” And he would say “why, why do I have to do that?”

Logan and I had not been together for long when we left for the course. We made the ride up from Dunedin to Outward Bound into a bit of a road trip. Taking in the views and enjoying time together – both of us not sure what to expect. Logan was excited. I was mainly wondering whether or not at my age I was going to be able to complete the things asked of me. I was reasonably well prepared in my mind, but not so much in my body!

When we arrived, all the Leaps and Bounds participants were put into the Hillary Watch and taken to a park to introduce ourselves. Then, before we knew it, we were in a boat putting on gear and being shown how to sail – there was no discussion about what was going to happen, it just happened, and Logan didn’t have time to ask “why?”

LB619 Hillary CrazyUs with our Hillary 619 watch mates. We're fourth and fifth from the right

Logan absolutely loved the challenges of Outward Bound and never once did he not put his full energy into each task. It was wonderful to see his commitment. On the final day we ran 13kms up the Queen Charlotte Track, and Logan came in second in one hour and 18 minutes. I completed this in two hours and it was the most satisfying challenge I have ever undertaken.

We all helped each other in the watch with whatever needed to be done. We worked well together – we all had different strengths. The team became better and better the more we got to know, and get comfortable with, each other.

Outward Bound definitely helped Logan trust me. Throwing us in together, two people who didn’t really know each other very well, was a sealer.


Since coming back from Outward Bound I notice that Logan is more able to do things without questioning everything. He’s slowed on his resistance and his questions. OB’s brought him some stability.

Being an older person and retired, I have a lot of time to spend with him and it works well – we work very well together. 

He’s taking notice of what’s going on around him and is much more responsible – I think responsibility would have been his biggest learning point from Outward Bound. He helps me with chopping and carting wood, mowing lawns and general jobs around the house. He does it now far more willingly and regularly, often doing a chore without being asked.  

Logan has got himself into a pattern of knowing how to behave around other people and has quietened himself down. I’m teaching him how to be quiet and think before he acts.

Outward Bound definitely helped Logan trust me. Throwing us in together, two people who didn’t really know each other, was a sealer.


We go for walks and play tennis together – I even let Logan win sometimes! We tease each other – it’s good to have lots of laughs. The great thing is that I’m learning as much as he is. He teaches me stuff and I teach him stuff and it’s really a very good balance. If all grandfathers did what I’m doing I think people would have such a different attitude in the world.

When Logan first arrived I wondered if I’d bitten off more than I could chew – however it’s been very enjoyable. Looking after him wasn’t something I was expecting at this time of my life. But in many ways, especially as our own son is going off to study this year, Debbie and I would be lost without him.


Ok that’s enough from me. I am going to let Logan tell you in his words what Outward Bound has meant to him...

Logan's Story

When I turned nine Child, Youth and Family looked after me.

After four years at foster care I met Debbie at school. She was my teacher aid. I had a few but I stuck with Debbie because she was pretty nice. Then Debbie and Chris asked me to come live with them.

I was pretty annoying to everybody!  I want attention from everyone, but it’s not good attention I get back. I need help with being quiet and getting on with my work. Debbie helps me figure out what the teacher is saying … I hear okay but don’t understand what I have to do – I need it explained more.

When I heard about getting an Outward Bound scholarship the first thing I did was look at the website. It looked pretty fun to me. I’d never done any of the activities, but I was really keen to give them a go. I wanted to give myself courage and just do stuff I hadn’t done.

Logan only

It was a bit scary to go by myself. I was stoked Chris was going to come with me and we would do the Leaps and Bounds course together. It was fun making friends with my watch mates and I loved all the activities. The highlight was kayaking down the crystal clear river with beautiful scenery. I had never done that before.

I found talking with my watch mates about the activities and what we learnt pretty challenging. I didn’t have much self-confidence, and I’m not used to talking about things like that. But everyone helped me and I did get better at it.

But did I tell you about the food? It was great food, which was brilliant. My favourite was the pasta and I went back three times to get more helpings! I was pretty cheeky and asked the chef (Paul) how to make it. I had to ask a few times and finally he gave in and gave me the recipe. I thought you might like to try it too, so I asked Paul if I could share his recipe with you as a thank you for donating money to help kids like me.


Check out Chef Paul's Primo Pasta Recipe


I was really sad when we finished and had to say goodbye to our new friends. I really want to go back when I’m older and do the 21 day course, Chris says he’s going to help me get there.

Now when I think I’m probably annoying someone I think about what I learnt at Outward Bound and I stop. I wouldn’t have done that before, in fact there are a lot of things that I never thought about before, OB has really helped me.

…Oh yes and I almost forgot to tell you – I came in second for the half marathon, I definitely never thought I’d do anything like that!

When I see people like Logan I am proud I support Outward Bound.

As soon as I win Lotto I’ll become Outward Bound’s biggest sponsor! I hope you are able to support Outward Bound with a donation so that more young people like Logan, who have had a difficult start in life, have amazing experiences that set them on the path to a positive future.

Thank you for supporting this wonderful organisation, that I can truly say from personal experience changes people’s lives.

Yours sincerely,




Outward Bound Alumni, Hillary 619