Course Spotlight - Youth Horizons - Outward Bound

Course Spotlight - Youth Horizons

Our Adapted courses are always a highlight in the calendar. Enabling New Zealanders with intellectual and physical disabilities to have a typical Outward Bound experience is just as inspiring and rewarding for our staff as it is for the students taking part and their whānau.

Earlier this year, Luis Douglas took part in Youth Horizons, a 6-day course for high school-aged rangatahi with intellectual disabilities. We asked Luis and his mother, Benita, to reflect on his Outward Bound experience:

Luis Douglas, Sheppard 697:

"The sailing was my favourite because it was the most fun. I liked my watch and I felt grown up.

I learned to use my instincts and not second guess. I was scared at times, but I blocked it out and decided to trust myself. Outward Bound helped me get on with people. I am more confident and I am proud I did it. I am more mature."

Youth Horizons Course 697 - Sheppard Watch


Benita Douglas:

"Luis had a trip away without his parents where he got to do what his peers and cousins have done. It was way more fun, exciting and typical than the usual activities he does. 

When Luis returned, he was proud, more mature, and spoke confidently and comprehensively about his experiences. I think he is more confident and more organised.

 Luis felt he had something meaningful to contribute to conversations and family discussions. He was very proud that he read a quote to the entire Outward Bound cohort at dinner. He never reads, but for weeks he would read out quotes from the OB Challenge of Words, and we would discuss them.

 This gave the family space to discuss what the quotes mean to us individually. This was a valuable exercise for all; it showed his siblings that he could understand and apply these concepts to his Outward Bound experience as well as his life experience."

I went to OB as a 20yr old - and consider it one of my most valuable experiences. It was wonderful to share OB stories. Luis felt he had a typical but very unique experience. This rarely happens for kids with cognitive issues.

It is important to get kids, who are usually trailed by aides and parents, into challenging and foreign situations. At 18, he wants to be independent - this was an opportunity to go away and challenge himself. He performed brilliantly (so he says - I have no idea, and that is fabulous).

The stories keep coming. I love that many family members have done OB - and now Luis has too - it is typical and unifying. 


You can learn more about our Youth Horizons course here and view all of our adapted courses here