This 7-day course is a unique Outward Bound adventure specifically designed for teens coping with the death of a loved one. You’ll be traveling along the famous Delaware River through the rugged and historic Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
By combining personal growth methodologies of Outward Bound, with a simple support model that honors the griever, we deliver an intensely profound healing experience relevant to the lives of people who are coping with the death of a loved one. Throughout the course there are evening discussions to review personal and group challenges encountered during the day and in life. Topics include grieving, leadership, independent decision-making, responsibility, and teamwork
GRIEVING TEENS EXPEDITIONS
Grieving Teens expeditions seek to help students acquire coping skills, build an ongoing supportive peer network, and to honor the griever through compassionate, purposeful grief processing and support activities. The grief work that is woven into every aspect of the curriculum helps young people to connect, build relationships, and share in a relevant healing experience with real-world outcomes. Although each expedition is unique, certain key components are a part of every Outward Bound Grieving Teens expedition. The expedition begins with hands-on, progressive training in a variety of expedition and personal skills. The idea that students are “crew, not passengers” is central to the Outward Bound learning approach. As they learn to cook, sleep, stay warm, navigate and select routes together, students also join in nightly discussion circles, acknowledge shared losses, and take part in grief rituals together.
Throughout the expedition, students build, practice, and reflect on skills, conduct service projects and also tackle at least one challenge element - rock climbing, a peak ascent or a big whitewater day - that pushes them to find undiscovered strength. Grief-centered introspection activities such as journaling, one-on-one conferences and nightly small and large-group discussion circles help students understand how their experiences thus far might translate to coping skills back home. During the expedition's final phase, students experience a rare gift and highlight of the course: time to think and reflect on the Solo. With food, equipment and the skills they’ve learned, individuals spend time alone at an assigned campsite – with Instructors periodically checking in on them. As the course nears the end, students participate in a Dedication Ascent. At the top of the peak, the group gathers and each student shares who they have chosen to honor. During the final debrief, students identify continued, healthy support mechanisms and a positive network of peers they can count on in the future.
Be prepared to canoe in the Delaware Water Gap where each section of the river is different and has its own personality. But if you want secluded, wide water with lots of wildlife, the stretch that flows through the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area from Matamoras to Kittatinny Point offers it all. Minisink and Namanock are the first of many islands along this stretch of river, where the water begins to form pools, eddies and some swift currents as land masses converge and the river drops in elevation.
You will travel with all the food and equipment you need to conduct your expedition such as tents, stoves, maps, emergency equipment and much more. As you paddle down the river with your expedition crew, you’ll learn how to work together and discover the commitment and effort it takes to truly work as a team. You and your fellow crew members will learn basic outdoor skills like Leave-No-Trace Ethics, outdoor living and backcountry travel in order to successfully live, work, eat and play together. This process will hone your communication, problem-solving and leadership skills. During the expedition, you will learn to use technical equipment, tie knots, paddle and camp, all while instructors provide expert supervision.
On your last full day of course you will leave the Delaware Water Gap and venture back to the urban wilderness of Philadelphia to the High Ropes Challenge Course in Wissahickon Valley Park. You’ll have the perfect ending to your expedition as you challenge yourself to climb high above the trees in memory of the ones that you love and the success of your personal journey.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area encompasses 67,000 acres of mountain ridge, forest and floodplain on both sides of the Delaware River in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. From the southern end of the park, you can view the S-shaped chasm of the Delaware Water Gap, where the river cuts a twisting path through 1,400-foot Kittatinny Ridge. Within the river watershed, you'll discover steep wooded-and-rock slopes, bountiful rhododendron, dark hallows, tinsel-like ravines and tumbling waterfalls.
"He was taught skills that he will carry with him throughout his life. Having the ability to openly and safely share with similar teens in this environment is unparalleled."
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. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee. For full fee schedule and process, click here. You can also call one of our expert Admissions Advisors at 866-467-7651.