Empowering Youth Through Regional Schools Courses - Outward Bound

Empowering Youth Through Regional Schools Courses

Inspirational, Life after OB

"How can we enhance the achievement standards of young people in our region?"

This was the fundamental question raised over a decade ago by Christchurch educators who aimed to empower their students to reach their full potential. They recognised that the future of their communities and regions depended on proactive investments in their rangatahi / youth.

In collaboration with regional schools, we developed a transformative programme focused on helping young people reach their full potential, empowering them to eventually give back to their own communities in an impactful way. The results were overwhelmingly positive, indicating that this programme could indeed benefit not just one region of Aotearoa, but communities all across the motu / country.

Fast forward 12 years, and our Regional Schools Programme has expanded to 12 regions. 

Each year, Outward Bound works in partnership with 120 schools and 182 students in Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti/Poverty Bay, Taranaki, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatū, Wairarapa, Wellington, Nelson/Marlborough, and Canterbury. 

Students travel to Anakiwa for a 21-day course, pushing themselves to their limits and finding out what they are truly capable of. They build courage and resilience, experience success as a member of a team, identify their own values, develop an appreciation for the natural environment and experience being of service to others. These future leaders then return to their schools and home to share what they have learned and make a genuine impact in their communities.

What makes this programme even more remarkable is that the courses are entirely funded by generous donors from these very same communities. These selfless contributions yield crystal clear benefits, as they empower the youth of their communities, fostering a cycle of growth and development.

In 2021, Outward Bound’s Regional Schools Programme was proudly awarded the Whakaaweawe Kaupapa, Outstanding Event/Programme Award at the Recreation Aotearoa Outdoor Awards, for significantly improving outcomes for our participating students.

Investing in communities, one student at a time

Many people may be surprised to know that at least 70% of the total students who come to Outward Bound each year receive some form of scholarship funding towards their course. 

In July 2023 alone, we welcomed 42 young leaders from three regions across the country to participate in the Outward Bound Regional Schools Course. These courses were made possible by the incredible generosity of our donors, amounting to an impressive $63,000* per course.

 Students are selected by their schools to receive these scholarships because:

  • They show commitment to school but are not yet living life to their full potential.
  • They are likely to give back to their school and community.
  • Their financial circumstances mean that they would not be able to undertake an Outward Bound course without financial support.

These scholarship students have just experienced their very first Outward Bound moments. The first time jumping off the jetty. The first time pitching in for dinner service. Their first morning PT. Their first time connecting with a group of 13 peers who will become their whānau for their time at OB and beyond. What they experience in those 21 days will go on to impact not only themselves but also their communities for years to come.

We know these courses work because they are designed for young people from the region, supported by the same community they belong to, and they will give back to as future leaders.

Nurturing Leadership: The Tau Ihu Course

The Tau Ihu course was developed specifically for the Nelson and Marlborough regions. Tau Ihu is the bow of the waka, the leader guiding the way. It is this spirit of leadership and service to others that we want to encourage and develop in young people of the Nelson and Marlborough regions. 

The 14 deserving students on the Tau Ihu course receive a full scholarship to attend, amounting to $63,000* annually. Without generous community donors, this course would not be possible for these young people. But funding isn’t easy to come by, and this year we had a significant shortfall for this particular course. 

We know the importance of enriching the lives of young people in our school's own backyard. And we will do whatever we can to ensure that we can continue to run the Tau Ihu course. But we simply cannot do it without your support.

letter to donor

We like to think of funding for this course like an intricate quilt: made up of different contributions, coming together to create something truly special. Every donation we receive for the Schools Programme goes directly towards supporting a student who wouldn't have the means to attend otherwise. The best part? Donors see their investment pay off tenfold when these students return to the community, full of energy and determination to make a real difference.

Help us build a brighter future

 *As of 2024, it will cost $5000 (an increase of $500 from 2023) per student, or $70,000 ($63,000 in 2023) per course to provide 21 days of life-changing experience for these special young people. Funding comes directly from generous people in the community.

If you share our passion for making a positive impact in your community, we'd love to talk to you about how you can help provide scholarships to our Regional Schools Programme. We collaborate with schools from 12 regions all across the country, and even the smallest contribution can make a big impact.


Want to learn more? Get in touch with our Legacy and Philanthropy Specialist, Georgia Ardill-Walker.