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steve Thomas - Ullswater, The Lake District, 1972

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My course was U167J. I arrived in trepidation! Horror stories of cold showers and up at 6 in the morning. My first time away from home without a family member, it was a real right of passage. The colds showers and dips in the lake all proved to be true, as was the non stop pace of the course.
I was in Watkins Patrol, the overall patrol winners at the end of the course. One member of the patrol was later to become a famous sports personality; Nick Faldo. His competive edge shone through then.
Apart from the standard expeditions and outdoor pursuits we also got to take part in a mountain rescue; a missing walker. Trawling the fells for two days, and he was eventually found safe and sound,but it gave us a great feeling of purpose to be involved.
I found it a tough few weeks, but by the end I felt a growing confidence in my ability and general self picture.
I left school a few months later at 15. Leaving with no qualifications, the only positive from secondary school being my experience at OB.
Outward Bound initially fostered a life long interest in the outdoors and enjoyment of the UK mountains, longterm it provided the platform for my personal development and progression into teaching and youthwork with disadvantaged young people.
In February 1989 I attended OB Eskdale to undertake my Mountain Leader training (summer), and again in February,1996 I completed Mountain Leader Training (winter) at OB Loch Eil. Both proving to be very positive experiences personally and professionally.
I currently work as an FE Lecturer, delivering outdoor pursuits and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme to young people with learning difficulties and disabilities.
U167J proved to be a seminal point in my life encouraging me to develop and work towards my current professionl and voluntary role.
In July of this year I delivered my young son Danny (14) to OB Ullswater, for the 3 week Classic course. The first time I had returned in 39 years, an emotional experience for both of us! Like me, although able, he dose not reach his full potential at school. However, he has come away from his OB course full of his experiences and very motivated. I'm hoping it will provide the spark for his development as it did for me.
Keep up the good work Outward Bound!!!
Posted: 20/09/2010