Immerse yourself in a diverse curriculum of outdoor skills including sea kayaking on Lake Superior, backpacking in the Superior National Forest and paddling on an extended canoe expedition in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. While hands-on experience throughout the expedition helps to develop broad technical skills, the length of the course encourages in-depth learning and reflection on personal goals, leadership styles, problem-solving techniques, effective communication, group processing and the ethic of service. With a focus on developing leaders who aspire to learn while striving to make a positive difference in the world, the Canadian Border Leadership Semester is guaranteed to be a Gap Year like no other.
*Please note that you will be required to have a valid passport in order to cross into Canada. If you do not have a passport or need to renew it, please start the process now as it can take weeks to receive your passport.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 courses coming soon.
Our Semester expeditions take you out of the classroom – and into the world. These courses are all about cultivating independence, developing technical skills, and engaging with the people and places around you. Learn from the best Instructors in the industry. Tackle challenges alongside a supportive crew of motivated peers. Amidst rugged natural landscapes, learn to lead and to follow; to give and receive feedback; and to trust in your own capabilities.
Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.
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.
During three climbing days, students learn about general rock climbing equipment, safety and etiquette. Students have many opportunities to climb, belay and rappel while learning and employing safety systems that are compliant with national standards. The rock climbing sites provide a number of different route options including cracks, sheer faces and chimneys. Regardless of a student’s rock climbing background, they are sure to find a route that engages them and encourages the expansion of their comfort zone.
Student groups travel to the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior to begin their sea kayak expedition from the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (LSNMCA). Students learn the art of paddling a sea kayak in varied weather, landing the craft in a variety of conditions and navigating and rescue techniques. Instructors share the secrets of handling and balancing the boat safely, regardless of the elements, as well as how to effectively teach these skills to others.
Students develop their paddling skills and bond as a group while traveling and camping along the rugged, rocky Superior shoreline. Additionally, they experience challenging open water crossings where fog, waves and weather test their newly acquired navigation skills.
On the southern edge of the massive Canadian Shield, a granite rock formation that runs from Minnesota to Hudson Bay and the Northwest Territories, sits the largest freshwater lake in the world: Lake Superior. The Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) follows the northern shore of the lake from Duluth, Minnesota to Canada, covering almost 300 miles along the low-lying Sawtooth Mountain range. Students spend four to six days hiking on the trail, which meanders through dense boreal forest, offers awe-inspiring overlooks and plunges into pristine river valleys. Well-marked trails, designated campsites and challenging terrain make the SHT a great introductory backpacking experience.
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 III). 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.
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.
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. This course offers the unique opportunity of two solos, one on the shores of Lake Superior and the other deep in the heart of the northwoods. 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. The semester course in particular offers the opportunity to completely experience Outward Bound and achieve success in multiple course areas and activities. 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. This independence easily transfers back to home, school and work with an increased confidence, direction and sense of responsibility and purpose.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota, and Canadian Lake Superior
Established in 1964, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is a labyrinth of lakes and rock 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 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 a truly 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' paddling routes offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, remoteness, teamwork, adventure and challenge.
Lake Superior, Ontario
The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (LSNMCA) is a wilderness archipelago along the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior. The LSNMCA is a rugged and pristine landscape of sparkling, clear water, cliffs, pebble and sand beaches and numerous islands. It is the largest freshwater, protected marine environment in the world and a premier sea kayaking destination.
The Superior Hiking Trail
The Superior Hiking Trail winds its way among birch, cedars and maples while crossing over dozens of sculptured waterfalls that cascade into Lake Superior. Well-marked trails, campsites and moderately challenging terrain make this a perfect place to gain independence from instructors, continue to build teamwork and finish your expedition with style.
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.