This course is ideal for anyone seeking fresh challenges in a unique marine environment and an intense team setting. Learn to travel by canoe and sailboat. Earn a Wilderness First Responder Certification. Backpack and rock climb in Maine and participate in long running science projects at the Cape Eleuthera Institute. Through out this semester course you will develop the skills needed to travel through the wilderness and better understand the natural world around you. The lessons learned and strengthened on this expedition will serve you for whatever challenge is next.
*This course is offered in partnership with The Island School to offer adventures in the Bahamas. Founded in 1999, The Island School offers transformative educational opportunities, which foster a process of inquiry in order to discover sustainable solutions to real world problems.
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This course may be full or preparing to leave in the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
Our Gap Year and 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.
In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke in the Androscogin, Penobscot, Kennebec or Allagash watershed(s) in Maine’s Northwoods. On the waterways of this five million acre forest, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders) to get from one waterway into another and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of unrunnable rapids). Expedition canoeing in Maine means paddling white water. During their canoe expedition students will learn how to scout, paddle and manage open canoes safely in class II rapids. As they learn to work, communicate well and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, students discover the power of two people truly working together.
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise in backcountry first aid. This nationally recognized program trains participants to respond to emergencies in remote settings. The 80-hour curriculum includes standards for extended care situations. Half of students’ time is spent completing practical skills, case studies and scenarios designed to challenge their decision-making abilities.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of team and individual elements. The mountains of Maine are rugged and wooded, and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. At times students travel on wilderness footpaths; at others, students navigate off trail. On clear days the group is rewarded with spectacular views from mountain peaks. Living and traveling with just what one can carry on one’s back is a simple existence, in which small choices can make great differences. To live well in the outdoors, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking a turn fetching water and cooking satisfying meals.
Rock climbing sessions take place at the many granite crags and cliffs that make northern New England a renowned climbing destination. Students learn how to properly use harnesses, helmets, ropes, belay devices, slings, cams and nuts. Participants will start with the basics of tying in to the rope and safely belaying each other and practice efficient movement over rock using techniques of friction, edging and crack climbing. As students build experience and skill they will develop more advanced climbing techniques and practice setting up and managing a variety of sites.
This course offers students a unique opportunity to participate in long running science projects at the Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) and volunteer at Deep Creek Middle School. They will have the chance to work with professors, graduate students and professional scientists on one of four ongoing research projects. Examples of projects students can pick from are: examine the health of mangrove ecosystems; bonefish population levels; Queen Conch population levels; and concentrations of micro-plastics and other marine debris (pollution). Under the guidance of head researchers, students gain the tools to collect data independently during their expedition in the Exuma Islands. The data will ultimately be compared to baseline data collected around Eleuthera, and presented to the CEIS community at the end of the course. In addition students will have the opportunity to volunteer at Deep Creek Middle School in Eleuthera. Working in the classroom and leading activities for the students, participants will have a chance to practice teaching and presenting while passing on some of the lessons they have learned on course.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, students live closely together, using only wind and oars as propulsion. As they rotate responsibilities, students learn the crafts of maneuvering under sail, coastal navigation, rowing and living aboard a small open boat. At night, students sleep on deck under a tarp, taking turns at anchor watch under brilliant night skies.
Students learn to:
This course ends with a Personal Challenge Event, an individual final physical push. This event might take the form of a timed swim or rowing event, or it may be a combination of the two. The Personal Challenge Event is a chance for students to finish their Outward Bound Experience with a true personal challenge where they can own all of their decisions and efforts in contrast to the time they have spent operating within an expedition team.
A two-night solo provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first half or two-thirds of the course. The time students spend on solo depends on the length of the course. On one-week courses, solo is four to12 hours long; on courses three weeks or longer, solo will be up to 72 hours.
Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing or just thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily.
This course focuses on developing the leadership and technical skills necessary to begin a career as an instructor or expedition leader in wilderness environments, or to take on challenging and versatile roles in a variety of other fields. Outward Bound’s leadership curriculum is based on over 50 years of leading expeditions. Students will refine the way they meet challenges and opportunities, relate to others and view their world. Technical skill development is a robust and challenging component of this semester program. Whether students want to pursue a career as a guide or outdoor educator, strive to become more proficient and safe when traveling alone or with friends and family, or aspire to develop the capacity to lead in an adventurous setting, this course will expand their skill base through the instruction of experienced specialists in these skill sets.
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin watershed is fed by Aziscohos Lake, the Magalloway River, and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used the Androscoggin as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast and as a source of food. Later the Androscoggin River was used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the nineteenth century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fisherman and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries.
The Bahamas are a network of low lying islands, shallow banks and deep blue waters just across the Gulf Stream from southern Florida. Originally inhabited by peoples moving north through the Caribbean from South America, for most of recorded history, these expansive and remote islands served as hideouts for privateers, buccaneers and pirates. These renegades were slowly brought to order by the British Crown, and the islands became a haven for fisherman, woodcutters, salt exporters and for freed slaves from the US and the Atlantic slave trade. Now a destination for sailors seeking stunning and remote cruising grounds and those researching marine ecology, the Bahamas are vibrant ecosystem and diverse culture.
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.