Meet Natasha Dominey - Outward Bound

Meet Natasha Dominey

Timaru’s Youth Worker Making a Difference

Inspirational, Life after OB

This month we caught up with YMCA tutor Natasha Dominey who took part on Connect, the Outward Bound course designed specifically to build the skills and confidence of individuals working with NZ youth. Natasha describes her OB experience as life-changing on many levels.

Where do you live and what do you do?

I’m blessed to live in the mighty metropolis of Timaru where I work as a youth guarantee tutor for the YMCA. My role is to teach students aged 15-20 yrs who need a ‘second chance’ in education. I support them to attain NCEA Level 1 & 2. It’s a hugely rewarding job. I love our young people!

When did you go to Outward Bound?

I was in Kupe watch 644. I went in August last year. Was it cold? Yes! but to be honest, that time of year is just so beautiful. I wouldn’t change a thing.

How was your experience?

There really is only one word to describe my course - life-changing! I now know that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. At the start of the course I really had my doubts if I was up to the challenges on offer, but as soon as I realized that my watchmates were all in the same boat, I got over that fear.

What did you take away from your OB course?

There was a point on course, where I was literally stuck on the rock-climbing wall of the high ropes course. It’s the last challenge on the high ropes and it’s not fixed, so it’s like a ‘floating’ rock wall 10 metres above the ground. I was exhausted and felt the only way I could finish would be to fall off. But instead, I reflected on the Good Wolf, Bad Wolf story our instructor Finn shared with us. By remembering this and feeding my 'good wolf' I made my way across the rock wall to finish the high ropes course without falling. This was a pivotal point of course which had altered my mindset. It made me understand how I have the power to control my thoughts.

What were your main challenges?

Definitely sailing. We started out in the pitch-black rowing and we just had to keep on rowing all day because there was no wind. I’ve never felt so physically spent. Yet the combined effort of my group, the camaraderie and shared experience made the feeling of reaching our end goal, so satisfying. We were all so happy. Until we found out that we were also sleeping the night on the boat. Another curve ball!  The challenge here for me was the uncertainty of what is happening next. I’ve now learnt that it's not as scary as I thought! I’m much better now at dealing with the unknown.

What have you been up to since OB?

Alongside becoming a better youth worker, one of my biggest motivations for completing OB was weight loss. I knew that a healthier me would also make for a better mum, wife, friend, workmate and youth professional. Before arriving at OB I lost 17kg and I was determined to continue after OB. For this reason, I didn’t take my OB badge when it was offered. Since my course, I’ve lost 27kg and I’m maintaining my healthy exercise and eating habits. I contacted Holly and Finn when I felt I had ‘earned’ my badge and I now wear it with pride! 

As a Mum of four children aged between 12-20 yrs, it's important I lead by example. I feel so happy they are seeing me make healthy food choices and prioritizing exercise. Since OB I ensure we make time to get in the outdoors as a family. Tramping is proving to be really popular with my 12 and 14 yr olds.  

How has the Connect youth course supported you in your role at the YMCA?

The skills I learnt on my Connect course has given me a great toolkit to encourage my students to have a positive outlook on life. A great example of where I got to use these skills was on a recent tramp up Mt Peel with students from the YMCA youth programme. Mt Peel is an extremely tough tramp and one student decided she just couldn’t take a step further. She lost all belief in her abilities and became quite emotional. So, I drew on the Good Wolf and Bad Wolf story and it worked for my student too! She made it to the top. I was so proud of her for digging deep and finding more in herself. The tramping experience helped her on many levels, and she is doing really well in her schoolwork.


A Cherokee elder sitting with his grandchildren told them, “In every life there is a terrible fight – a fight between two wolves.

One is evil: he is fear, anger, envy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, and deceit.

The other is good: joy, serenity, humility, confidence, generosity, truth, gentleness, and compassion.”

A child asked, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”

The elder looked him in the eye. “The one you feed.”

mt cook

Natasha exploring Aoraki / Mt Cook



Natasha with YMCA students up the top of Mt Peel


lake benmore hike

Natasha tramping at Lake Benmore