Recently 14 secondary students from Bay of Plenty schools tested themselves mentally and physically at "Tangaroa", an Outward Bound course, and last night they got to celebrate their achievements with donors and community leaders.

Over 21 days, the students challenged their beliefs and themselves through a variety of activities held in the Outward Bound school and its surrounds in Queen Charlotte Sound.

The students, from six Bay of Plenty schools – Tauranga Boys' College, Otumoetai College, Papamoa College, Te Puke High School, Whakatane High School and Katikati College - were selected for their leadership and commitment at school.

"It was great to have the Tangaroa 2019 course in school recently. They were a really energetic and positive group of young people, who quickly became a family supporting each other as they learnt to build courage and resilience, and experience success as a member of a team. They also learned to identify their own values, develop an appreciation for the natural environment and experience being of service," Outward Bound school director Simon Graney said.

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Thomas Bolus, a Year 12 student at Tauranga Boys' High School said letting go of excuses in order to push himself was one of the most challenging things he experienced at Outward Bound.

"Our instructors talked about why we hold on to our excuses, which means we don't push ourselves.

"It sounds a bit cheesy, but I learned that if you put your mind to something and stop making excuses for not trying, there's not much that can stop you. It was definitely mentally challenging.

"After the course I was identified as one of the people in my watch who pushed myself the most and I'm really proud of that."

The Tangaroa Outward Bound course is made possible through the generous support of the Acorn Foundation, the Estate of Marjorie Coombes, EW Johnson Scholarship, the Estate of Robert Graner, FINDEX Community Fund and individuals who believe in the young people of the Bay of Plenty region.

Outward Bound has been transforming lives of New Zealanders since 1969, with more than 65,000 young Kiwis attending courses designed to help them to reach their full potential through outdoor adventures.