Neil Worthington
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Neil Worthington - Eskdale, The Lake District, 1971

Hello, My name is Neil Worthington and I would like to share my time in your Outward bound organisation many years ago. I am a past apprentice who was chosen by my employer in Leeds, Crabtree-Mann to go to the Eskdale outward bound course in September 1971 at the age of 16. Why was I chosen from 60 other apprentices that year I asked myself, I was a skinhead in and out of trouble, selfish, thought I knew everything and going to work was to have money for a pint, the future was today. Apparently the head of the apprentice training division recognised I had good potential to be a better person and achieve a successful life completely different from the direction I was heading in, this he told me shortly before I left for a month in Eskdale in the lake district. What an awakening this was for me, I learned to depend on others and have them depend on me, I climbed rock faces, canoed, walked miles and was dumped out on the hills on my own for a few days to better understand myself, it was like coming to life but a new life, I missed my family terribly, and learned to look deep inside myself and I did not like what I saw. The instructors were tough seasoned men, but they also were there to help and their words still ring in my ears, I felt so proud when I had done something good and they told me when this happened. I learned so much about myself and when the month was over I left as a very different person. The same year I met the girl I am married to this day, she would not have even looked at the old me and 46 years later still together and still love her as much as anyone could. I started to enjoy my work and did very well at work being moved onto jobs that needed greater skill and I enjoyed this trust from my employer. At college I started to achieve the results needed to succeed in obtaining my City and Guilds certification as a skilled machinist, which I passed with distinction, I could see bright a future that was in my grasp and did all I could to pursue it, and enjoyed every minute. At 25 we had our first child and came to live in Canada, I have moved up in my machining trade firstly as a lead-hand, then supervisor, Team Leader to Plant Manager and finally to General Manager as far as I can go and at the head of my present company. And I can thank the Outward Bound for giving me confidence, patience, leadership skills and determination to be where I am today, with 3 sons all doing well and feeling so lucky that years ago someone recognised my potential and the Outward Bound brought it out. What a great organisation I was lucky enough to be a member of all those years ago. Sincerely, Neil Worthington