Bond with your crew as you rely on each other, work together and learn to live simply by practicing low-impact wilderness travel and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. Add another level of stewardship to the experience by taking part in a half-day backcountry or community service project that promotes conservation and sustainability. Do more than learn to paddle; together with your instructors and crew learn how to collaborate. See the impacts of your leadership in action. Learn how to identify your own strengths, to take ownership, to advance technical skills and to develop authentic relationships with your crew and the world around you. Get off the beaten track and accomplish more than you ever thought possible.
The Boundary Waters courses have low student/staff ratios, seven or fewer students with two instructors allowing for more individualized attention and focus.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
No two Outward Bound expeditions are ever quite the same. Every crew is unique; every route is distinct; and every adventure is dynamic. But one thing remains the same. On each course, students rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places – and find strength and determination along the way.
Students complete an extended canoe expedition. This expedition includes learning the art of paddling a canoe in a variety of conditions, as well as map and compass reading, route finding and Leave No Trace wilderness living principles. Groups navigate a variety of waterways such as lakes, rivers and swamps, working as a team to carry packs and canoes over portage trails when transitioning from one lake to another or to get safely around challenging rapids. Traveling by canoe allows groups to go far past where motorboats operate; once there it is possible to quietly observe bald eagles, moose and peaceful sunsets on mirror-calm lakes.
This course offers students the opportunity to increase their skill and knowledge of whitewater paddling, progressing from maneuvering in small currents to more challenging rapids (up to Class II). Emphasis is placed on boat control, safety and enjoying the thrill of whitewater paddling. Two days of whitewater canoeing and a half-day of whitewater kayaking add to the excitement and breadth of the experience. Students learn how to “read” water and trust themselves to make split-second decisions in order to determine the best routes through the rushing waves.
Regardless of a student’s rock climbing background, they are sure to find something that engages them and encourages the expansion of their comfort zone. Students learn about general rock-climbing equipment, safety and etiquette before learning how to belay. The half-day of rock climbing provides ample opportunities to climb, belay and rappel over the edge, eventually safely descending to the base of majestic rock.
Looking out over the top of the boreal forest, the High Ropes Course is an incredible obstacle course set 30 feet in the air. Students swing from Tarzan ropes, walk on tightrope wires and climb a cargo net before jumping on the zip line for an exhilarating ride back to solid ground.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects. Some projects are more social services based, and participants may visit a nursing home or hospital to provide service there. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
The solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. Many students use this reflection time to make decisions about their future, journal, and enjoy the beauty of their surroundings unencumbered by the constant external stimulation of modern life. The duration of solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, participants are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by staff throughout the experience to maintain safety. Students find that solo provokes profound and powerful learning in a short period of time and often becomes one of the most memorable parts of their Outward Bound experience.
Courses are offered in a variety of locations and for different lengths to provide a range of programming from which participants can choose the optimal experience for them. Longer courses allow for a full immersion into the Outward Bound experience, more time to practice wilderness travel and the opportunity to experience both success and failure to promote personal growth.
Courses for younger students may focus on developing character by encouraging belonging and confidence; older groups may do this by focusing more on persevering through challenge and working on self-reliance. Regardless of course type, students can expect to get comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while creating a solid foundation of skill sets they can continue to build on after course.
Established in 1964, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a labyrinth of lakes and rocks that has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness. No roads, power lines or motorized craft may enter its borders. Therefore, the Boundary Waters wilderness has changed little since its unveiling when the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago. Over 1 million acres in size, the BWCAW extends nearly 150 miles along the Canadian border. With over 1,200 miles of canoe routes, nearly 2,200 designated campsites and more than 1,000 lakes and streams, the BWCAW is an amazing place to experience the wilderness.
The BWCAW contains portage-linked lakes and streams, interspersed with islands, forests and crags. It has no piped water, prepared shelters or signs to point the way. Within these borders students can canoe, portage and camp in the spirit of the French-Canadian Voyageurs of 200 years ago. The Boundary Waters' 1,200 miles of paddling routes offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, remoteness, teamwork, adventure and challenge.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.