Jaime Keady
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Jaime Keady - Ullswater, The Lake District, 2010

(the photo is me, on the left, and my mate Sophie on an exped.)

I was 15 years old on my Classis Course at Ullswater. Before I went I was a bit shy, very hardworking, and stressing over the pressures at school and family problems. They had me seeing councellors and wanted to put me on anti-depressants. But I knew that what I really needed was an adventure, something to remind me how to be happy again. So I decided to go on an Outward Bound Classic.

My group were fantastic, the best in the centre, and in my eyes, the best it possibly could have been! From the start we were natural friends and were more than willing to help each other. Our instructor, Dave Rafe, was brilliant! He was as much one of the group as the rest of us, and had a great sense of humor!

There was one evening, on a multi-night expedition, when everyone was asleep in their tents, except me. So I crawled half out of the tent onto a pile of rucksacks, and I lay there staring into the sky, which was full of millions of stars. I lay there for hours, thinking and staring, then, I noticed a small glittering out the corner of my eye, I blinked and looked again, it was a shooting star, the first I've ever seen (and yes, I checked it wasn't an aeroplane!) Now that moment is just a memory, but at the time I remember thinking that I would happily give up one year of my life, just for that moment. It was perfect.

The sheer beauty of the lake district, not to mention the sense of adrenaline and adventure I got from the trip, was perfect for me, and I was determined to go home with a smile on my face. So I did. And now, although I miss all the friends I made, and the feeling of being at the centre of energy that you get from the lake district, I'm still smiling, and I'll never have to deal with depression or anxiety again, even if I ever get it again, I know that the cure is Outward Bound. So when Dave handed me my little green badge, and told me why I deserved it, I can't even begin to explain how much it meant to me - even though I wasn't sure if it would. I think, in order to fully appreciate how much the badge is worth, you have to have completed a course. Otherwise, you cannot hope to imagine what an honor it is to recieve it. So thank you to everyone and everything at Outward Bound that put my smile back on my face and taught me more than any school, or councillor ever could!