Thank you to Molly Fearn and the Outward Bound Mexico team in Valle de Bravo for joining our Raise Your Hand annual campaign! Please help us with the campaign and donate along with posting your own picture with your hand raised on our Facebook page.
Molly Fearn is a former Outward Bound Center for Peacebuilding intern and a co-founder of the Junior Board. During her time as an intern, Molly helped develop the outline for the very first Practicum on Experimental Peacebuilding (PEP). She is now the Business Manager at Outward Bound Mexico, where she has been working to involve more university students and schools with Outward Bound programming.
What do you like most about your role at Outward Bound Mexico?
I most enjoy getting to tell potential participants about Outward Bound expeditions and seeing the excitement on their face when they see pictures of sea-kayaking in Sian Ka’an, a biosphere reservation on the Caribbean coast of México, rappelling in El Chico National Park in the state of Hidalgo, or even whitewater-rafting in Río Filobobo in the eastern state of Veracruz. Not only is it motivating to see people get excited about the adventure, but I’m also encouraged knowing that more and more Mexicans will have the chance to experience first-hand the value of their country’s natural resources.
What are some of the unique aspects about Outward Bound Mexico and the environment there?
With my point of reference being OBCP and the US, México’s culture is unique in many ways. Here the outdoor culture is more of a niche than in the US, meaning the outdoor expedition is an even greater contrast to most participants’ daily lives. This makes it a strong tool for taking participants out of their comfort zone and into the learning zone.
Also, course activities are “tropicalized,” meaning they are adapted to the local culture. In México it is common practice to greet every person with a hug or kiss and this is incorporated into integration activities on course. Plus, there are always handmade corn tortillas on course!
Are you able to apply what you’ve learned as a former intern and current Junior Board Member at OB Peacebuilding to your current work? If so, how?
Without a doubt. Having worked with Outward Bound Peacebuilding, I learned the potential of an Outward Bound expedition for building positive peace between two groups in conflict. Listening to stories from the Israeli and Palestinian participants of OBCP courses on working through differences and reaching agreements to perform on expedition, and then attending each other’s weddings and maintaining relationships after the course, proved to me the power of the Outward Bound experience.
What does peace mean to you?
Peace to me is the transformation of conflict into cohesion and codependency. Conflict is a necessary component of relationships that should not be eliminated or unwanted, but rather seen as an opportunity for developing positive relationships. On an Outward Bound course, conflict will emerge when the new group forms. Conflict transformation is required in moving this group along the stages of storming to norming and eventually performing. Peace is present when a newly formed group discovers, and is led by, their common objective, such as summiting the Iztaccíhuatl Volcano, México’s third highest peak.