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Otago Community Trust Invests $105,000 In Youth Development Through Outward Bound Scholarships

The Otago Community Trust has awarded a $105,000 grant to the Outward Bound Trust of New Zealand to fund transformative Youth Development Scholarships for students across the Otago region. The funding comes under the Trust's Thriving Children and Young People focus area.

The substantial grant will enable students from Otago schools and youth training organisations to attend Outward Bound's acclaimed 21-day Mind Body Soul or Classic courses held in the breathtaking wilderness of the Marlborough Sounds. Through challenging outdoor expeditions and activities like sailing, kayaking, high ropes courses, tramping, community service projects and environmental education, Outward Bound uses an experiential learning model to develop critical life skills in participants.

Key outcomes include increased resilience, self-confidence, ability to work in teams, goal-setting, leadership capabilities and an ethos of environmental stewardship. The intensive courses push students mentally and physically, allowing them to discover their true potential.

“The generous tautoko of the Otago Community Trust means 25 rangatahi will embark on a transformative journey at Outward Bound, where they'll discover resilience, leadership, and the boundless potential within themselves” says Malindi MacLean, Tumuaki/CEO Outward Bound. “Together, we're shaping future leaders who will inspire and positively impact their communities.”

Robust independent research demonstrates the significant positive impacts of an Outward Bound course. A 2021 Good Measure study utilising a standardised social outcomes measurement tool found that compared to their peers, Outward Bound alumni experienced markedly improved future mental and physical health, academic achievement and earning potential.

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A 2022 survey of over 500 Outward Bound alumni further illustrated the courses' profound effects, with 95% saying it positively impacted their life in a meaningful way. Specific impacts included 83% having increased confidence and self-belief, one in three taking on new leadership roles since attending, and 92% feeling they left Outward Bound a better person.

Glowing testimonials from recent Otago recipients of Outward Bound scholarships highlight the courses' ability to transform lives:

"Thank you for the chance to expand my skill set, especially my confidence and knowledge — assets that will be invaluable as I start university and enter new social and physical environments," said Isabel Sheehan, a 2023 scholarship recipient.

Finn Abey, who attended in 2023, said: "I'm so grateful for this opportunity to understand myself at a deeper level and grow into a better person who can give back to my community."

"The Otago Community Trust firmly believes in the power of Outward Bound to shape our region's young people into resilient, socially-conscious leaders," said Otago Community Trust Chair Andy Kilsby. "This investment in scholarships develops the capabilities that allow recipients to thrive while making meaningful contributions to their communities."

The first cohort will attend courses beginning in late 2024.

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