Leap of faith

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Amii Baker abseiling on the Berwick Outdoor Experiance
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Amii Baker is buzzing after completing the Berwick Outdoor Experience course.

The course, a non profit venture, is held over eight days at the Berwick Lodge, south of Dunedin.

The experience has been running for 28 years and is open to males and females aged 18 to 70+ years of age, helping people from all walks of life push their boundaries, test their limits and achieve personal and professional goals.

Amii’s sister and two younger brothers had done the course previously.

‘‘I was going through a bit of a rough patch with a breakup, never really focused on myself , so my sister said you should do this.

‘‘All the people who had done it seem pretty set in life, doing their thing and I was like, I want that, I want to have more push in life and find my zone.’’

The challenges on the course include abseiling, kayaking, tramping, mountain biking, bush craft, first aid and a confidence course.

Amii said she was ready to test herself both mentally and physically.

‘‘Hearing about all the adventures you do, the kayaking the abseiling just finding the confidence to do all that,’’ she said.

Amii put a post on a local Facebook group, asking for help to do the course.

Ladies of the Ashburton County Lions messaged her and after meeting for a coffee offered to sponsor Amii – she only had to pay for the gear needed for the course.

The course aims to encourage participants to look and think outside the square and discover the potential that exists in everyone.
Amii has continued this philosophy in her life after finishing the course.

‘‘It is bringing what I could do at the course into real life, that’s a big challenge, I’ve got my goals written down, getting myself into a routine,’’ she said.

On the course participants are up and exercised by 6am, then breakfast at 7am.

One of Amii’s goals is to complete the Queenstown half marathon in November.
‘‘So that will be a big challenge for me because I have to train and I’m not a runner, the main thing is to get over that finish line.’’

Amii also plans to start up her own business making polymer clay jewellery and is interested in volunteer work, inspired by the instructors on the course who were volunteers.

Amii made plenty of friends from all over the South Island and described the experience as like being in another world.

‘‘It was magical, I think the hardest thing was integrating back to reality, just after eight days you build this tight-knit family.

‘‘There were people afraid of heights, afraid of water but that didn’t stop them from doing anything because they had the support, it was just beautiful, it was inspirational.’’

Amii said her main challenge now was not relying others for support.

‘‘Knowing you’re not always going to be surrounded by people, that you need to find it in you to be your own support.’’