Hans Deamer
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Hans Deamer - Ullswater, The Lake District, 1967

I attended course U121 in Oates Patrol in August 1967 as an 18 year old brash and arrogant young hooligan, sent there by my company, International Computers Ltd, Herfordshire, where I was a second year apprentice.
My fellow apprentice and hooligan, Len Gentle, attended with me and together we were trouble but I guess ICL saw potential in us both and decided that an Outward Bound course would perhaps bring this out.
We arrived after a long train journey, very apprehensive but determined to show how tough we were.....however next morning things started in shocking earnest when we were woken at 6 and had to run half a mile down to the lake and jump in off a long jetty which made sure you went right under the 50 degree F water!...and we had to do this naked....I still have a picture in my mind of 100 naked teenagers running down to the lake and launching off the jetty....shy ones could wear plimsoles as the instructor dryly told us.
This jump in to the lake naked at 6 am was compulsory EVERY morning in all weathers unless we were out on "expedition" or "tod" but we surprisingly soon got used to it and even enjoyed it.
Len and I tried hard to cause trouble at first but after a day or so, both of us were given a serious and very moving lecture from our chief instructor about our loud mouths and poor attitude and I still remember the very deep effect his words had on me....after that I buckled down and according to the report sent to my bosses at the end of the course, changed from an "uncouth youth" to a "valuable member of the team with a determination to succeed" or words to that effect.
We did so many great things during the course some of which scared me at first, like rock climbing and the ropes course, but were also called out at least 3 times on serious mountain rescue during the month involving sweeps across the mountains looking for lost hikers (one was found dead after a fall) while our canoeing on Ullswater took place in a severe wind and rain storm, resulting in all canoes going over....we could not stop laughing!
We did so many great things and Oates patrol won the award for the best "project" ....we built a long stone pathway to the workshop outside using rounded stones we fetched from the lakeshore and this, I am told, lasted many years until the workshop was replaced by a new building.
The last night involved a concert where all patrols had to perform a self invented segment, this was a big deal as local dignitaries and all the staff attended...we had a real laugh, some at the expense of the instructors.
We all made special friends during the course and we were all sad to leave, however promises of staying in touch were soon forgotten as life moved on.
After Outward Bound, Len and I went on to reach the National Finals in the International Apprentice Competition and both of us gained Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards by the time our apprenticeships ended....great times.
I emigrated to the USA in 1980 and today am President of Windmoeller and Hoescher Corporation in Rhode Island...one of the largest private companies in the state.
I was able to visit the Ullswater Outward Bound school just a few weeks ago while on vacation and the staff welcomed me and provided copies of my course group photo and the reports both on me (sent at the time to my company) and on the course, itself which confirms the abnormal number of times we were called out on mountain rescue and the visit of a senior monk who joined our strenous activities in his hassock!
I am so glad to have had the chance to experience Outward Bound, it certainly had a influence on my life.