Taylor's Transformation After OB - Outward Bound

Taylor's Transformation After OB

Inspirational, Life after OB

Hi, I'm Taylor and my life has changed completely in just a few months. I’ve gone from being on the benefit, spending my time drinking with no direction in life, to having a great job that gives me a real sense of purpose and pride.

Sharing my story with you is a big deal for me. I find it hard to trust people but I’m working on this. I am going to be brave and tell my story so that it might help you to know how important your support is.

Growing up I never felt there was anyone there to support me, or had my back or was on my side. Mum was always busy with her other kids and never had much time for me. I learned early on to be independent and to only rely on myself.

My Dad didn’t live with us. I remember I was about four or five when I asked Mum about my Dad and if I could see him. She got in touch with him and after that I would see him once a fortnight, but as I got older that slowed right down and I don’t see him much now.

A few years ago, I was at rock bottom emotionally. I had left college at 16 and was living at home with my Mum.

I sat at home and drank a lot of alcohol to forget my problems. My only true escape was to get on my bike and take off for awhile.

Then I got a letter about a youth employment course that the council was running. I was invited to a seminar to learn more about it by a woman called Leigh.

Before I knew it, Leigh had interviewed me and I was offered a place on the Keeping it REAL course.

Something in me just clicked, I promised myself that I would turn up every day for that course. I wanted to prove to myself that I could have the determination to do something after being home bound for a few years which was a big step for me.

C645 Rutherford Crazy

My awesome watchmates - Rutherford 645!


mud rolling

Mud rolling in Anakiwa

The Keeping it REAL course helped me face my problems. Showing up is what got me there. Having somewhere to turn up every day gave me the motivation to face my drinking problem and now I’ve got it under control.

Toward the end of the course Leigh suggested I might be interested in applying for the Outward Bound scholarship they had been offered for a student. I asked her ‘why choose me’? She said she knew I’d benefit the most from it.

I gave it a lot of thought, did some research on OB and then said yes! I felt I had the confidence and motivation now to make the most of this opportunity.

My watch was Rutherford 645 and we had the best instructors – Jorge and Tristan. When we first met them, they came out leap frogging over each other towards us. They just had such a positive vibe and we were totally convinced our watch had scored the best instructors... Can you remember yours? I bet you thought yours were the best too!

Our first day was awesome. It started off with mud rolling and then serious mudslinging which ended in lots of laughing. After that we jumped off the jetty into the freezing sea and someone started singing.

Before long we had all joined in and this became our watch ‘thing’ - we sang! Any random song would do - walking through the bush, rowing, everything we did, we sang, it really helped motivate us.

Our watch got close really quickly. By day four we felt like we’d been there for a month and at the end of three weeks it felt like a couple of years! Which was awesome. I didn’t want to leave.

People ask me about my highs and lows at Outward Bound. For me, everything at Outward Bound was a high.

I even enjoyed my solo – I played golf! I found a branch the perfect size and shape and used pebbles as golf balls. I also set up a drum with a big tree log which I hit with sticks and played a favourite beat of mine – “We will rock you”. I found out later that some of my watch had enjoyed relaxing and listening to me.

At Outward Bound I talked about my friend Leigh more often than I talked about my family. One time we had to get up and say one person we respected.

I was the only one who didn’t name a member of my family. I decided to be funny and said a big hero of mine – Ozzy Osbourne! I was just being honest. It doesn’t make me happy to admit I would be lying to say my Mum or Dad was the person I respected the most.

Everything about my life now is so much better. I’ve got a job that I really enjoy doing - garden maintenance. It gives me a lot of pride and satisfaction seeing the finished product. It’s so cool being able to say “yeah, I did that!"

I feel like in just a few months my life has completely changed. I’m not going back to who I use to be.

As a casual contractor, I’m supposed to wait for them to call each morning to let me know if there is any work, but I don’t wait for the call. I get up early every day and turn up. I think they are planning on giving me a permanent contract soon – fingers crossed.

I went to see Leigh last week and talked to a new set of students who are doing her programme. I told them about my experience in a real presentation!

I’d never have imagined doing something like that before. There I was standing up in front of people talking about my life to inspire them - I still can’t believe it! I never thought anyone would ever use me as an example of a success story!

If I could talk to those who donated to Outward Bound so I could attend, I’d like to say how it completely turned my life around. I’m thankful for everything I was able to achieve at OB and it’s thanks to all you donors.

Would you be prepared to donate to Outward Bound today? I know it would be great if more people like me, or in a similar situation to me, could be given this same chance to change their lives too.

I am so grateful I was given this opportunity. Thank you.


Yours in adventure,
Rutherford 645


Solo was a real highlight for me


Dining Hall2

I miss Marcel's cooking!



Here I am presenting to Leigh's students