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New partnership between Outward Bound and No Duff veteran support charity

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In February 2019, fourteen New Zealand military veterans will swim before sunrise, scale rock faces blindfolded and summit mountains in the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound when they attend the inaugural ‘No Duff’ Outward Bound course.

The course has been specifically designed for veterans by No Duff and Outward Bound, and will focus on the transition from military life to civilian life; a transition many find extremely difficult.

No Duff is a registered charity committed to providing immediate support to veterans 24/7, 365 day-a-year. Headed by former soldier Aaron Wood, the No Duff team helps Defence Force veterans transition from their military career to the civilian world. No Duff is military slang for "this is not a drill".

"There are 41,000 veterans in New Zealand and most people don’t know who they are. After release from their military service, many veterans experience isolation, anxiety and loneliness as civilians and often feel misunderstood or simply out of place. Most army roles don’t translate into everyday life and often soldiers will hit a wall psychologically or emotionally. Frequently there is an inability to connect with others in their new social environment, which can exacerbate the issues and we are seeing increasing susceptibility to health problems, substance abuse and relationship difficulties.

"The Outward Bound course will be a safe place to explore these issues and we hope participants will come away with a sense of reconciliation between their previous service life and their current civilian one. They’ll be able to consolidate their personal narrative and be better able to move on confidently with their lives and connect better with others," says Aaron.

Over five days at the adventure school, participants will explore themes of self-awareness, personal values, identity and skills to assist them in their daily lives out of the service. Developed by Outward Bound course designer Meg Ryan and utilising specialist facilitator Kathy Tracey, the entire Outward Bound team is looking forward to welcoming veterans to Anakiwa.

"We are delighted to be working with New Zealand veterans and excited about this important initiative which aims to support these vital members of our society who have served our country tirelessly. Aaron has introduced us to the real world challenges that most military vets struggle with as they immerse back into society. We hope this inaugural course will be the first of many more. In developing this course, we have drawn on the experience of Outward Bound USA who have been facilitating this type of programme with their veterans for a long time with great results," says Outward Bound chief executive Victor Klapp.

"For us, this initiative takes us back to our roots. The first Outward Bound school was founded in the 1940s by Kurt Hahn to build resilience in young men, in the hope it would give them the tools to survive WW2. Its fitting that Outward Bound also provides soldiers with the personal development skills to transition out of a military mindset."

Outward Bound’s ‘No Duff’ course will run from 4-8 February 2019. 

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