The YWCA's purpose is to support individual and community change by empowering women, especially young women, to develop and exercise their individual and collective leadership through enhancing their spiritual, physical, mental, and cultural wellbeing. Our partnership with Outward Bound New Zealand is helping us to achieve this through our partnership scholarship.
In November last year, we launched our bi-annual Outward Bound scholarship (previously the programme was run by YWCA Hamilton) in which three young women between the ages of 18 and 26, are given access to a 2018 Outward Bound course at a greatly reduced cost. You can read more about our Outward Bound partnership and how it works here.
We are delighted to introduce our first three Scholarship recipients, Anna, Lara and Kellee, who will be experiencing this life changing course this year.
Anna Connolly, 19
Aspiring teacher, Anna, originally hails from Otorohanga. She is now living in Hamilton studying for her Bachelor of Teaching degree at the University of Waikato.
Anna is looking forward to becoming a YWCA advocate and strong female role model through her teaching career.
"Outward Bound has always been a dream of mine. It excites me now that I'm finally turning this dream into a reality. I've always wanted to push myself, and get out there and be adventurous.
I'm incredibly fortunate that I've been given the opportunity to do Outward Bound. I enjoy being pushed out of my comfort zone and I believe it will shape the person I am and set me up with life long benefits and skills, both physically and mentally which is why I am so happy to receive the scholarship."
Lara Hawker, 23
Wellington-born, Whanganui-raised Lara Hawker moved to Auckland to study special effects makeup. Graduating in 2015 as Student of The Year, Lara now runs a small business and freelances to film and television productions.
Lara has extensive volunteering experience and hopes to become a practising make-up artist with Look Good, Feel Better, to offer her skills to women fighting cancer. She also has plans to become a mentor for younger women entering the workforce, or starting their own business.
"I am incredibly happy and grateful to have been selected for the YWCA Outward Bound Scholarship. I chose to apply for the scholarship as going on Outward Bound was something I had always dreamed of doing as a teen, however due to financial circumstances at the time, I was unable to realise this.
I have always felt that I had l really missed the Outward Bound experience - the time to get know yourself and your own limits, while getting to know others and challenging yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. I am very, very excited to begin my OB journey - I can't wait to get out of my comfort zone!"
Kellee Henton, 25
Hamilton based Kellee Henton runs her own fitness business aimed towards inspiring and change the lives of women through health and fitness. She is a personal trainer and runs an activewear website, The Kellee Collective, aimed at women of all shapes and sizes.
Kellee has done a lot of charity work with her personal training business to raise money for The Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand, as well as working with young women to help overcome eating disorders.
"I am so privileged to be receiving the Outward Bound Scholarship from YWCA, an amazing organisation whose values sit close to my heart. Outward Bound has always been on my bucket list, mainly to prove to myself that I'm stronger than I think. I want to share my journey with you all, to prove that you really can achieve anything you set out to - it's mind over matter, and everyone is capable of it. Thank you so much YWCA, I plan to do you proud."
Outward Bound is a not-for-profit organisation, helping people reach their full potential through challenges in the outdoors. "The course gives you the focus and perspective to decide on your future direction. A perfect balance of adventure and reflection, you’ll take time to consider your personal values and work out what’s important. You’ll find a sense of belonging, with new connections and with a better understanding of yourself and your relationship to the wider world."
Our next round of Outward Bound scholarship applications will open in April 2018.
We wish Anna, Lara and Kellee the best of luck for their Outward Bound adventures this year and we look forward to sharing their stories with you.