Delivering Life Experience for Over 60 Years
“There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less.”
— Kurt Hahn, Founder
Outward Bound was founded in 1941 in the tumultuous waters of the North Sea during World War II, to provide young sailors with the experiences and skills necessary to survive at sea. Named for the nautical term for a ship's departure from the certainties of the harbor, Outward Bound was a joint effort between British shipping magnate Sir Lawrence Holt and progressive German educator Kurt Hahn. Hahn had developed his progressive ideas, first as founder of the Salem School in Germany, and later at Gordonstoun, a boarding school in Scotland, that soon became one of Britain's most distinguished and innovative schools. Hahn believed education must encompass both the intellect and character of a person. In creating the first Outward Bound School, he expanded the concept of experiential learning to include real and powerful experience to gain self-esteem, the discovery of innate abilities, and a sense of responsibility toward others. Outward has since become the premier adventure-based education program in the world.
History of Outward Bound in the United States
The history of Outward Bound in the United States began in the early 1950s when Josh Miner, an American who taught under Hahn at the Gordonstoun School in Scotland, was inspired by Hahn's philosophy and teaching model. Over the ensuing decade, and with the support of other inspired individuals, Miner founded the Outward Bound movement in the United States based upon the principles of hands-on learning through outdoor adventure by creating the U.S.-based Outward Bound School in 1961. The first U.S.-based course, C-1, had 35 students who set off on June 16, 1962, in the Colorado Rockies. 2012 marks Outward Bound's Golden Anniversary and 50 years of leading the way in outdoor education in the United States.
Outward Bound gave rise to an entire outdoor education industry in the U.S. Today, with its nationwide system of wilderness courses, special programming for at-risk youth, professional and group programs, and community-centric programming such as Centers and Expeditionary Learning Schools, Outward Bound is dedicated to helping people learn through challenging experiences so that they can grow individually and in the process become more active in the communities where they live and work.