Experiencing the Wilderness

by Divya Wodon, Naina Wodon, and Quentin Wodon

Peter Kyle, the immediate past  Governor for District 7620 and a member of the Capitol Hill Rotary Club, has been a Rotarian for almost 40 years. He has been a member of Rotary clubs in the Philippines, New Zealand, and the US. As District Governor, he spent most of his time running the District and supporting clubs. But as his DG bio suggests, his third love (after Margaret and Rotary) has been Outward Bound, a nonprofit founded in 1941 that serves 70,000 students and teachers annually.

April Issue - Outward Bound

The organization sends students on tough expeditions into the wilderness, immersing them in unfamiliar and sometimes uncomfortable situations so that they can push their own limits. Students form teams and learn about individuality, strength, and character. They also learn about how to use these traits to make a difference and serve their community as well as the larger world. Apart from its expeditions, Outward Bound also offers courses for teenagers and other groups who have health complications or social, financial or other specific educational needs.

Peter first became involved with Outward Bound in New Zealand in 1967 when he participated on one of its programs. He subsequently became very involved on the administrative side rising to the position of Senior Vice President.  Following his move to the US in 1992 he helped found Outward Bound International and still serves as its Chairman Emeritus.

As Peter put it “Outward Bound is a cross between Boy Scouts and boot camp”. He described its mission as “to expose young people to a variety of physical and mental challenges to prove to them that if they try a little harder then they can do a lot better—they can run faster, swim for longer and climb higher thereby proving that there is more in you than you think.”

Peter would love for Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors to experience Outward Bound by participating on one of its expeditions. And if Rotarians are lost in the wilderness of the implementation of service projects, his advice, in typical Outward Bound fashion, is simply “to commit and do what you can (however hard it may be) to help alleviate poverty and promote peace, international understanding and goodwill.”

Note: This story is reproduced with minor changes from a book published by the authors entitled Membership in Service Clubs: Rotary’s Experience (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).