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Scholarships life changing

Regulus // Issue 1 // May 2023

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Brooke on the Outward Bound boat.Brooke Hughes (now Year 12) and Amelia McAllister (now Year 13) were the two lucky St Andrew’s College students to have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, build character, and face some exciting challenges, thanks to the generosity of Old Collegian, Ben Gough (OC 1991), who funds annual scholarships.

Brooke won the 2022 scholarship for a Year 11 student to attend Spirit of Adventure and spent 10 days sailing in the Hauraki Gulf at the end of November. The Outward Bound Scholarship saw Amelia take part in a 21-day course at Anakiwa in January.

The Spirit of Adventure experience surpassed Brooke’s already high expectations, she says. “I loved the spontaneity of each day where we were always doing something new and exciting. My favourite moments were getting thoroughly drenched by the waves on the big travel days, swimming through caves with crystal clear water, the morning swims, sitting in one of the sails, and anytime that I was up the mast or harnessed onto the bowsprit. I had so many amazing experiences, but the people were the best part and really made the trip. It was great to get to know everyone better than just small talk, especially during the night watch conversations. We felt like a family so quickly and organically.”

Brooke says leading the sailing and directing others was the most challenging aspect of the adventure, as she had no prior sailing experience before the adventure. “Overall, the experience and its boundary pushing activities have enabled me to work towards the person I want to be, with greater confidence and sense of self; whether it’s being more secure in my values, more at ease in situations I’m uncomfortable with, or simply being able to have better conversations with more people.”

Amelia says she immediately called her Mum to share her excitement when she found out she had been selected for the Outward Bound Scholarship. “I was ecstatic, and there was definitely a degree of nervous anticipation too.”

She says the highlight was the final ‘five day journey’ towards the end of her course, which consisted of a three‑day tramp and two-day’s sailing. “On the first day, I led the team up Mount Cullen, which consisted of 300m of bush bashing and 700m of steep hill climbing. Then we hiked across the ridge for a few more hours and set up camp. After a 14-hour day we slept very well.”

After another two days of hiking, the group arrived at Momorangi Bay where they hopped on the sailboat, Sir Woolf, sailing the outer Marlborough Sounds, and anchoring near Motuara Island, which they also explored, seeing blue penguins and incredible views. “To top off the day, we sailed as the sun set into Wharehunga Bay. My mate, Molly, and I put our hands up to take the sail boat out to anchor, and swim back in the dark, which was a very cool experience.”

Amelia says the physical aspect was the most challenging part of the course, but as the weeks went by she found herself adapting well.

Being surrounded by a diverse group of people helped Amelia to develop her social skills, while the three-night solo camp gave her time to reflect on her goals and how she would like to achieve them. “The course changed my perspective and has driven me to be more focused. I have grown as a person in so many ways.”

Both Brooke and Amelia are grateful to the Ben Gough Family Foundation for the life-changing scholarship and encourage other students to apply. “Even if you are feeling slightly unsure, go for it. The benefits you get from these experiences are unmatched,” says Brooke.

Brooke and Amelia share their life-changing experiences from the Ben Gough Family Foundation's annual scholarships.