Hamilton father and son duo Sandy and Emmet Schaare have done the unthinkable: Completing an Outward Bound course, despite Emmet, 15, living with muscular dystrophy.
The eight-day Outward Bound course for teens and their parents was specially designed for teens who have a physical disability.
Emmet spends most of his time in a wheelchair, due to his degenerative muscle condition, and the course was a chance for father and son to do things Emmet wouldn't necessarily be able to do otherwise.
Emmet's father Sandy says that for the last few years, the family has been doing "bucket list stuff" with Emmet.
"I'm an outdoorsy guy, brought up sailing, tramping, kayaking and mountaineering, and Emmet was always going to be my outdoors buddy. He too loves the ocean, the bush and the fresh air.
"Because of his condition, we know there are things he wouldn't be able to do without the help of a lot of people. So when Outward Bound came along, we knew it was his throw of the dice to experience all those things and Outward Bound would be able to pull it off. Who would have thought he'd be able to spend time in the bush, sail a cutter or jump into the ocean? It was unbelievable."
Outward Bound adapted course manager Caroline Campbell says the course has been designed for teenagers between 13 and 16 years who have a physical disability.
"The aim of the course is for the pairs to develop trust and respect and a more meaningful relationship. Together with the others in their watch group, they can experience working together as partners as part of a wider team."
Sandy says: "Being able to go to Outward Bound with Emmet was the best thing in the world. And watching all the other kids on the course was inspirational. Emmet struggles to walk 100 metres, but there he was on the high ropes in the tree canopy. Probably the least capable of the group but he went first. It was very emotional and pretty crazy!"
Emmet discovered that his dad is a "big softy" sometimes. Sandy says he was just so proud of his son. "The emotional side of it was surprising to me but in a wonderful way. It was a really magical experience."
Chief executive of the Lindsay Foundation, Andrew Higgott, which sponsored Emmet and Sandy to attend Outward Bound, says the foundation's drive and focus is supporting charities that are selfless and caring in their pursuits.
"Outward Bound's adapted courses programmes does just that. It provides the perfect pathway for Kiwis living with a physical disability to embrace a challenge, to remove barriers and push past their limits.
"We were thrilled to help give Emmet and his dad Sandy the chance to indulge their passion for the outdoors together. Hearing about their adventures in the thank you note we received from them both was very touching."