Kia ora, my name is Dan. I’m 19.
I want to share my story with you and thank the kind donors who made my journey to Outward Bound possible.
Now, I am a young adult in control of my future. And after years of feeling like ‘the poor kid’, I know the meaning of self-value and self-belief.
I come from a family where things have always been pretty tough. We never had the kind of money that the other kids at school had. I was always seen as the poor kid – and was teased about it all through school.
My last year at high school was particularly tough, and I thought a lot about suicide and self-harm as an escape from a life that I hated and had no control over.
Eventually, I called the Youthline help line and they got me a counsellor. That led to face to face counselling which helped me face up to the things that made my life miserable and began to take control of who I am. I became aware that I wasn’t alone, and that there were so many other teenagers in situations far worse than mine.
I made the decision to help other people and became a Youthline helpline counsellor so I could help other teenagers.
One day, one of the supervisors at Youthline said they had been given a scholarship by generous Outward Bound donors and had put me forward for it. It sounded like it would be a cool thing to do, but I didn’t expect anything to come of it. Outward Bound was something that only lucky kids got to do.
So, when a couple of days later I got a call from Outward Bound telling me I’d scored a scholarship, I said “are you for real?”, I was so shocked!
I was really excited about going. I kind of knew it was an opportunity for me to take some pretty big steps forward in my own life – maybe even to come home with a whole new perspective on who I am and where I’m heading with my life.
The first thing I did when I arrived at Anakiwa was volunteer to be a speaker at the pōwhiri. I was really nervous, but I’d met a few cool people on the ferry over, so I was feeling good, and I wanted to share how grateful and honoured I felt to be there.
Turned out most of those on the ferry were in my watch – we were Hillary 656. We quickly became a tight group of twelve doing Outward Bound in the middle of winter.
I’m not a big fan of being out of my comfort zone so kayaking and doing the barrel rolls in freezing cold water were not super fun but I’m glad I did it and I’d definitely say I’m more resilient now.