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Young dairy farmers test limits at Outward Bound – DairyNZ

Scaling mountains, sailing and swimming before sunrise isn’t a typical day on the farm, but it’s exactly what Southland dairy farmer Victoria Rumble experienced when she went to Outward Bound recently.

Victoria attended the course with the help of Emma Blom, a 21-year-old Lincoln University agricultural student who raised money for a scholarship so someone else could have the same life-changing experience.

To fundraise, Emma ran a half-marathon around her flat during lockdown, wearing gumboots and overalls. Farmers, families, friends, businesses and people she’d never met donated.

“I wanted to support another farmer to attend Outward Bound to build resilience while unlocking their potential,” Emma says. “Victoria’s drive to grow, and her passion for the industry, made her the perfect recipient.”

Emma says the half-marathon was a lot of fun and tapped into skills she’d learned on her course, including endurance and perseverance. “At Outward Bound, you’re challenged mentally and physically, and you help each other out. It inspired me to give back to the farming community.”

Emma is finishing an environment and society degree, at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands. When she returns to New Zealand in the new year, she plans to work with her parents on their Southland dairy farm.

She says she hopes she has started a ripple effect, with young farmers supporting each other to attend Outward Bound for many years to come.

Victoria knew nothing about Outward Bound when she applied for the scholarship, so it was an entirely new experience for her. The 30-year-old knew she wanted to step outside her comfort zone.

“Outward Bound helped me discover what I’m capable of. It’s something you don’t know until you are there living it, doing it,” she says.

“Many of the skills learned can be applied to everyday life. There were no phones, and spending two nights solo in the bush is a great chance to check in with yourself – to think about what’s happening in your life and what you’re grateful for.”

Victoria says taking a moment to reflect on your situation and state of mind, and how you can improve, is a skill she has taken back to the farm.

“We’re all rushing around, trying to do everything and looking to the future. Sometimes we just need to stop and appreciate what’s in front of us.”

Victoria says a key part of Outward Bound is being aware of the people around you and making sure they’re happy too. “Teamwork is an essential part of farming and working well together get tasks done.”

Victoria is back on the farm now and wants to pass the baton to another Kiwi dairy farmer to experience Outward Bound. Meanwhile, she shares tales of her adventure with as many of her workmates and dairy cows as possible.

DairyNZ lead advisor for people Jane Muir says Emma and Victoria’s experience represents some of the best of the dairy farming community – connection, teamwork and learning.

“It highlights the importance of farmers making time for themselves where they can recharge their batteries, reflect and prioritise what is important to them,” says Jane.

 

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