This 50-day semester is designed for teens that have begun to make choices at home and in school that are negative for their future. Your expedition begins with an extended skiing and dogsledding expedition and culminates with our traditional parent seminar. The winter environment of Northern Minnesota provides unrivaled opportunity for true physical challenge. By finding your personal strength and forming a well-functioning team, this expedition will change your view of yourself and enable you to see what you are truly capable of!
Imagine introducing your parents to the team of sled dogs you mushed through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness! After the Homeplace phase in the middle of course (our wilderness base in Ely, MN), you and your group will spend three weeks further developing your problem solving and decision-making skills, leadership ability and determination. The activities used to explore those goals will switch to backpacking (weather dependent), canoeing and rock climbing.
Another aspect of the second half of the course is a project of the student's choice for which school credit is available. If you are a Junior in High School or older, you can earn up to 12 college credits available for the semester though our partner colleges, Northland College in Wisconsin and Western State Colorado University. If you are a sophomore, there is the potential of High School Credit by completing an Independent Study Guide. You will personally have to work with your High School in order to receive credit. Please visit our academic credit page for information on obtaining college credit as well as the Independent Study Guide.
Intercept is a special program of Outward Bound. It is designed to serve teens and their families and help them address concerns like risky behaviors, low motivation, defiance or poor school performance. Expeditions are presented as metaphors for the transition from childhood to adulthood and designed to help teens and young adults connect their desire for more freedom with the reality that they must take on additional responsibility. Courses are highly structured with explicit wilderness, communication and leadership skill progressions, as well as time on course devoted to preparing for a parent / guardian conference at the end of your expedition. The conference is a conversation, facilitated by the instructor, in which parents and teens design a new plan for their household or the next steps in their education or career. Students will travel back home with real knowledge of themselves.
The course takes place in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a million-acre expanse of lakes and granite that has been specifically protected as a true American wilderness—no roads, signs, or power lines. It has changed little since the glaciers receded 10,000 years ago. Waterfalls, sheer rock cliffs and deep, crystal-clear lakes surrounded by towering spruce and pine are visited by moose, deer, beaver and otter. Hiking takes place on the Superior Hiking Trail, which follows the coastline of Lake Superior. Adventure waits!
You should know that this will not be a guided trip, it is a real expedition. That means you and everyone in your group will participate in everything from cooking to navigation to learning knots. You should also know that a team effort means sharing the load and working to make sure that the gear is divided appropriately. The team works together to reach goals each day.
The Winter Intercept Semester begins in time to take advantage of the glorious end-of-winter season on the Minnesota-Canadian border.
First, you will learn basic snow-camping skills and form a good team. Then you will cross-country ski with your group's team of sled dogs across glistening, snow-covered frozen lakes and rivers, surrounded by silent forests and under vast blue skies. By the time you return to base camp, you and your team will have explored and tested your strengths, frustrations, dreams and worries.
The second half of your course will be more self-directed. You'll do a significant amount of community service. You and your team will plan a second expedition hiking trip while the lake ice melts and a third expedition by canoe. Sandwiched into your expedition schedule will be time to work on a research/presentation project of your own, giving you a chance to exercise your brain as well as your body and soul.
Academic credit is available through our partner colleges for college credit or we can help you arrange to receive credit through your school at home. Students need to be at least a Junior in High School in order to receive college credit. If you would like some more information on College credit or potentially receiving High School credit through an Independent Study, click here.
The goal of the semester is for students to go home with newfound self-confidence, self-direction and ability to take responsibility for their own success. The family conference at the end of course in Ely, MN enables students to have the support necessary to be successful in the next steps of their lives once returning back home.
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. For full fee schedule and process,click here. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee.