Explorer Journeys: Olivia Judd

Young Inspiring Explorers™ Summit 2019

Outreach programme focus: Media, public speaking

Overcoming one of her biggest fears to attend the 2019 Young Inspiring Explorers Summit led to a surprising life change for Olivia Judd

With a love of the outdoors and physical activities, and a keen interest in the Antarctic and exploration, Olivia Judd was excited to be accepted for the 2019 Young Inspiring ExplorersÔ Summit. However, the student from Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland knew there was one activity in the action-packed weekend which would push her well beyond her limits and get her to face one of her biggest fears.

Olivia was terrified of dogs, so felt extremely apprehensive about coming face-to-face with the huskies at Husky Rescue NZ and walking them around the exercise course. But she was determined not to let her fears get in the way of the great opportunity to attend the Summit, which was hosted by the Antarctic Heritage Trust in partnership with the William Pike Challenge.

Olivia was inspired to apply for the Summit when she read William Pike’s incredible story of courage and determination after losing his leg in the Mt Ruapehu eruption. “The opportunity to meet William and spend the weekend with other young people interested in the outdoors was very exciting.”

She joined 20 other young explorers in a range of activities, including visiting penguins at the International Antarctic Centre, riding in a Hagglund, camping overnight, and learning about the historic Antarctic explorers.

When it came to the husky experience, it was another member of the Trust’s alumni programme, Georgie Archibald, who was instrumental in helping Olivia to overcome her hesitancy and get the most out the experience. Georgie spent considerable one-on-one time with Olivia, gently encouraging her to get comfortable with the huskies. Olivia’s confidence started to grow, and she was thrilled when she was eventually able to put the harness on the dog herself and walk it, with Georgie running alongside. “The opportunity to walk a very calm dog helped me to get over my fear. This experience really helped my self-confidence too.”

Olivia said the Summit also broadened her understanding of the Antarctic and why it is so special, and she enjoyed learning about the historic explorers. “The thing I thought was most interesting about the explorers was how resilient they were during their expeditions.”

She believes all young New Zealanders should get the chance to explore. “We need answers to questions around environmental protection, animal extinction, and the health and wellbeing of ourselves. Continuing to learn and discover nature’s secrets will help us to do this.”

Olivia keeps in touch with the Trust through its alumni programme, and the Trust was delighted to learn that not only has Olivia overcome her fear of dogs thanks to the Summit, she has since taken the incredibly big step of getting her own dog.