At Outward Bound, participants learn through doing. We utilize challenging activities in spectacular environments because the unfamiliar stimulates dramatic learning. The activities are a means to an end, the vehicle illuminating qualities of value to both individuals and teams. While our programs are meant to be challenging, they are well within the capabilities of teens and adults in moderate physical condition. Strength and endurance are less important than openness and commitment. We work closely with you to tailor the activities and discussions to address issues important to your organization/school and to the participants.

Below is a list of the activity and location combinations to help you customize the right program for your group.

Backpacking - Traveling in the wilderness with all the necessary gear on your back requires planning (what will you need), coordination (who carries what), agreement about navigation, support for those who have less balance or strength, and a willingness to manage unpredictable weather and obstacles along the way. Perseverance is needed to cover the miles between campsites and everyone must cooperate in the division of labor for successful meal prep and camp setup. The rewards for backpacking are spectacular scenery and escape into pristine solitude.

We can customize backpacking courses in the following locations – California, Colorado, Maine, Oregon, Washington

Canoeing - From portaging canoes and gear to learning how to pitch a tarp to taking a turn as leader, the opportunities for accomplishment and success are endless on a canoeing program. Participants learn paddling strokes for flatwater and whitewater, rescue techniques, river and lake hydrology, wilderness campcraft, and map and compass navigation.

We can customize canoeing courses in the following locations – Alabama, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, Washington

Rock Climbing - Typically, we’ll schedule in one or two days of this activity. Rock climbing focuses on the value of: creating supportive environments, risk-taking as it relates to personal growth, extending one's limits and empowering others to do their best. Each person will learn climbing techniques, and will have the opportunity to do two or three climbs and a rappel. This is a powerful team building experience as participants "belay" (manage the safety ropes) for one another, promoting increased levels of trust, and encouraging personal accomplishment. A thorough practice session alleviates frequently held apprehensions regarding this high impact experience.

We can add rock climbing to a customized course in the following locations – California, Oregon, Maine, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, West Virginia

Sailing - Outward Bound boats provide an ideal environment for learning sailing skills as well as life skills. Whether navigating the sea or navigating life there are captains, bosuns and navigators. Prepare for the unexpected man overboard or shipwreck drills. Close quarters offer many facilitated learning opportunities. (Florida course include snorkeling opportunities.)

We can customize sailing courses in the following locations – Maine

Mountaineering - Groups explore wildflower-filled alpine valleys, cross high passes and climb remote peaks. The ascents are truly challenging and call forth determination and perseverance. The rewards of reaching a high summit are without equal. Multi-day mountaineering expeditions include all the aspects of backpacking described above with the added technical features of snow crossing, rock scrambling, alpine route selection, high altitude safety and rope usage.

We can customize mountaineering courses in the following locations – Colorado, Washington and California

Whitewater Rafting - A river expedition involves white water rafting, river camping, and side canyon exploration. Participants are divided into crews of 5-7, and each crew is assigned an instructor and a paddle raft. The rapids are challenging, many requiring an overlook, a plan of action, effective captaining, and full cooperation from all members of the crew. On multi-day river trips, each person will have an opportunity to captain the raft -- read the river, plot the course, call the commands. At the end of the rapids or at the end of the day, crew discussions draw correlations between decisions and actions on the river and those in their own lives.

We can customize rafting courses in the following locations – Colorado, Washington, California, and Utah

Sea Kayaking - Camping on beaches and protected bays, participants learn paddling and bracing techniques; navigation using nautical charts; open ocean crossings; surf launching and landings; wind and wave theory; and self, paired and group rescue techniques. Traveling by sea kayak, close to the water, participants feel part of the marine environment and have opportunities to view sea life close up and study natural history.

We can customize sea kayaking courses in the following locations – Minnesota and Washington

Dog sledding - Students learn all aspects of dog sledding from harnessing to driving a sled. They mush their team of working dogs across frozen lakes and on backcountry trails through snow-blanketed silence. When not driving the sled, they stretch their legs skiing, learning how to cover lots of ground with a kick and glide technique. They also discover that it is possible to stay warm and set up a cozy campsite in the middle of winter.

We can customize dog sledding courses in the following locations – Minnesota

Other Outward Bound Expedition Components

All Outward Bound courses regardless of activity are comprised of certain time-honored components. Here is a list of some of these activities.

Solo - This is a time of solitude and reflection that occurs near the end of an expedition. Each participant is asked to think about the Outward Bound experience and to relate key lessons to their personal lives. It is a rare gift for most to have the opportunity to step away from the hustle and bustle of one's day-to-day activities and to spend time personally reflecting in the wilderness.

Service - Service is an integral part of Outward Bound and an inherent part of Outward Bound activities. Students are asked to embrace a philosophy of service towards other members of the group throughout the expedition. Formal service projects are also used as a vehicle to help students explore and develop a service ethic.

Team-building Initiatives - These are carefully designed problem-solving activities which reflect the challenges of working cooperatively to create and implement solutions in any situation. After each exercise, Outward Bound instructors facilitate discussions to help participants relate insights to relevant circumstances in their lives.

Ropes Course (available for programs that begin or end at a base camp facility) - This is an obstacle course rigged high in the trees which cultivates enhanced self confidence as individuals exceed pre-conceived limits. Participants draw lessons from this experience to inform their efforts as they face challenging situations in the future.

Orienteering Course - Participants utilize map and compass skills to find designated locations on an trail-less course. This challenge builds self and group confidence as participants navigate in small groups across unmarked terrain.

Combinations of the activities above are possible, such as Backpacking and Canoeing or Sea Kayaking and Mountaineering, depending on location.

Group Expeditions are run year-round and are generally 3 to 10 days long. We can accommodate groups from 5 to 80 participants depending upon location and activity. Some expeditions work out of a base camp setting and some are totally mobile. When traveling in the backcountry, groups will be divided into “patrols” or “crews” of ten or less.

One or two-day programs of Rock Climbing, Orienteering, Initiatives and/or High Ropes Course are also available.