Fianna Scholarship 2015

2015 Fianna Scholarship recipients at Outward Bound

Long Bay College Students students Kayla Bergh and Patrick Smith were the recipients of the 2015 St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust Fianna Scholarships.
Since 1989, the founding year, the St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust has applied funds raised at their annual golf tournament (St Patricks Day Charity Golf Classic) to benefit young people and quite often those in need. In 2003 the trustees announced the inception of their Fianna Scholarships. It was decided that each year they would provide scholarships that would enable two young people from the North Harbour region to undertake a three week Mind, Body and Soul course at Outward Bound at Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds. This course is well known to provide invaluable life skills which the trustees believed would contribute immensely to the personal growth of these youngsters.
The inaugural scholarshop winners were announced in 2004. They were Courtney Miller of Westlake Girls High School and Paul Hellyer of Rosmini College. Every year since, two students – most often from the same North Harbour school – have received the scholarship and attended Outward Bound. In 2011, following the Christchurch earthquake, the Fianna Scholarships were awarded to four deserving students from that city.
“We ask the selected school to pick the winners, with our only criteria being that it is unlikely that family circumstances would enable the winners to easily afford the course fees and air fares to Anakiwa,” says St Patrick’s Day Golf Charitable Trust Trustee, James Greenway.

The 2015 recipients, Kayla Bergh and Patrick Smith from Long Bay College, provided these reports when they returned from the 21 day Outward Bound course which they completed in December 2015.

Kayla Bergh:
Outward Bound was 21 of the most exhausting but greatest experiences we’ve ever had. “Our courses are designed to be mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging.” The Outward Bound team was not kidding when they put this on their website.
We’d wake up every morning to a PT session where we’d often try and clock our best run times. This was immediately followed by a dip in the ocean, a cold shower and breakfast. This was the routine when not out on adventurous schemes. It sounds like torture I know, but this was a time to be on our own and set personal records.
Aside from this, we were with our teams 24/7 and did absolutely everything together. For many people this was something they needed to get used to, and that alone was a tough challenge. We also had to learn to rely and trust our teammates more than ever as some activities literally had our lives on the line; part of the fun and adrenaline rush I guess.
Working as a team is lifted to a whole new level on this course. Some pull their weight in the team, others don’t, and it’s how you cope with that that determines how much of a team player and leader you are.
We left the course having learnt so much about people and about how important it is to be a compassionate leader in pressure cook situations like this; definitely worth the challenge. Besides, we all laugh about it now that we’re all new lifelong friends.
We went on schemes like white water kayaking, tramping and camping in the bush, high ropes, rock climbing and sailing. Fears needed to be faced, and that was just part of the whole learning curve. All these activities are physically challenging and are sometimes what people most look forward to, but once there and in the middle of it all, the reflection sessions end up being so incredibly valuable.
We simply took time out of our busy routine and looked inwards. It was tougher than it sounds. Evaluating ourselves in depth and trying to discover who we are and why we do what we do, is not easy. We spent time figuring out what our passions are and what we believe is most important in life, and then used that to draw a picture (literally) of the person we want to be. Having left Outward Bound, trying to keep that image in our minds and not falling back to the people we were before the course, is indescribably difficult.
No one really knows what they are getting into when singing up to Outward Bound. We returned having learnt so much about ourselves, about others and about the breathtaking things the world has to offer.
Over the 21 days, we had experienced more than some people ever would in their lifetimes; in fact some activities we’d probably never do if we weren’t on the course (like steering a sailing cutter through the Queen Charlotte Sounds), and it inspired us to be more adventurous. Patrick and I returned with so much energy to tackle 2016 head on, and it’s all thanks to the St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust who gave Long Bay College the privilege of sending two students,.
Also a big thanks to our amazing school who selected us to experience what Outward Bound had to offer, and of course our families who supported us all the way.
It was a life changing experience and we wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Patrick Smith:
Outward Bound was 21 days of the most exhausting, greatest experiences I have ever had. I didn’t think all the best of it at the start but as soon as I arrived I started really enjoying myself with the ending product being life changing.
I was lucky enough to be placed with two amazing instructors and mentors for that 21 days who I considered my house-parents or older siblings who watched over me well. Brad and Meg have the greatest personalities and I will always remember them as two of the greatest people I know.
As well as being placed with these two amazing instructors, I was placed in McKenzie watch with 13 crazy, individual, talented people. The amazing thing was that no one in the course was the same. It went from having an amazing model, to having one of Nelson’s bogan to having me as one of the loudest people in the world.
Unfortunately from the 4th of December to until around the 5th I fell sick and as a result of this I had to sit out of all the activities over those 2-3 days. The upside to that was that I got the sleep for most of that time so it was nice to catch up on some sleep and be ready and active for the remainder of the trip. Although that small amount of sleep did nothing from the day after.
No one really knows what they are getting into when signing up to Outward Bound, or even accepting the amazing scholarship we got given by the St Patrick’s Day Golf Classic Charitable Trust, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. A lot of the course challenged me, both mentally and physically and because of this the course really bought out who I was as a person and what kind of leader I could be both in the dorm and outside in the “real world”.
Both Kayla and I have made lifelong friends as a result of having the opportunity to attend the Outward Bound Mind, Body and Soul Course.

NOTE: The name Fianna derives from the band of warriors led by mythical hero Fionn Mac Cumhaill which protected the High King of Ireland in pre-Christian times. Fianna applicants underwent initiatory ordeals requiring exceptional prowess and dexterity. In addition to supreme physical skills, the applicants also needed to be versed in twelve books of poesy.