Outward Bound – to serve, to strive and not to yield

In July 2013 three EVS volunteers had the opportunity to take part in a four day adventure/outdoor education course in Sovata, Targu Mures, with eight young people of AMURTEL’s Rasarit project.

Our participation in Outward Bound was aimed at facilitating our personal development in the dimensions of team building, communication, youth leadership and problem solving, providing us volunteers with the tools that we will apply during the rest of our EVS experience as well as future work environment and daily life in general.

SONY DSCOutward Bound activities aim to foster the personal growth and social skills of participants by using challenging expeditions outdoors. The main activities we did were: ropes courses, trapeze jumping, climbing and an overnight excursion in the mountains. We also took part in ice-breaking group games and energizers as well as planning out activities and follow-up sessions.

The ropes course was an excellent example of a problem solving activity. This elaborate exercise was a reflection of having to cope with real life tangible situations as it entailed many small parts which had to be solved in order to reach the end of the course. In order to complete the exercise and accomplish the given objective each participant had to go through the process of thinking and acting independently, taking care of details such as ensuring ones safety, trusting oneself, overcoming insecurities and taking risks. Furthermore, the ropes course was an important exercise in that it represented a learning process whereby details play an important role, and are not to be undermined. It was a practical hands-on-experience, applicable to issues occurring on a day to day basis, on how to solve daily life shortcomings in a creative and effective manner.

SONY DSCWe found that all the activities were challenging both on the physical and psychological level but indeed rewarding regardless of one’s successful completion of the exercise. In most cases the essential part of a given activity was not that of merely completing the activity rather the whole process played a predominant role. The important thing was to give it try, despite of one’s physical or mental capabilities, and seize the opportunity to actively explore one’s limits, strengths and weaknesses, as well as creating and reinforcing our ties with the rest of the group. It was extraordinary to witness the immense will power and mental determination of some of the members of Familia Amurtel, together with the solid group spirit which we managed to develop thanks to this experience.

SONY DSCOne week has passed since our outward bound experience and we can already see how strong and useful this experience was in creating more solidarity, unity and homogeneity within the group as well as in relation to us volunteers. This was not purely an adventure camp but was a truly educational experience which reminded us of our personal limits and taught us where what we need to work on both personally and collectively as a group. By spending 4 intense days working together we got to know one another on different and more profound levels which is fundamental for our future work together as a team and dealing with the beneficiaries in a more constructive and efficient way by being more accepting and understanding of the groups idiosyncrasies and to avoid and resolve conflicts.