This course is full of opportunities to explore, climb, and hike a stretch of the Appalachian Trail through Maryland and Southern Pennsylvania.
Welcome to the historic Appalachian Trail (the AT) – a diverse and challenging trek that stretches over 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia. You and your crew will pack all your food and gear required to live on the trail for eight days before leaving the base in Baltimore. During the expedition, you’ll take turns sharing important roles for your crew such as cook, navigator and leader of the day. Your expedition also includes a day of rock climbing in Michaux State Forest, home to three unique climbing sites.
At Outward Bound, we are crew, not passengers. We support each other and share in our challenges and our victories. Your crew becomes a critical piece of your experience while on course, and beyond! While all our courses are inclusive for all gender identities, we understand the value of affinity spaces, too. During this time of development, when young people need a safe and supportive space, this course builds self-esteem and community, and creates opportunities to make lifelong friends.
This is a traditional Outward Bound course, specially designed for girls and gender-expansive students who are looking for this kind of community on their course. And when we say “for girls,” we mean we believe trans-girls are girls. You are welcome here – let’s adventure together!
Students can expect a progression of activities to initiate personal growth and conversation about our unique and shared experiences. We will spend time having guided discussions on a variety of topics, as well as opportunities for individual reflection, while embracing the affirming and healing powers of nature.
Outward Bound’s affinity courses are designed to build community and cultivate self-efficacy. Expeditions are led by trained Instructors and aim to create a safe space for those who have experienced being marginalized due to their identity, and/or are exploring their gender identity. Outward Bound is a place for all people to learn, grow, make friends, and have fun! We encourage you to talk with one of our course advisors if you have questions about which course is the best fit for you.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
Affinity Groups, Gender-expansive, High School , Single Gender
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Course start, introductory lesson is backpacking, begin hiking
Introduction to rock climbing and belay technique
Backpacking, lessons in map/compass travel & advanced camp craft
Rock climbing and rappelling, solo
Backpacking final challenge, return to base, clean and de-issue gear, service project
Personal challenge event, graduation, depart for the airport
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
Students learn how to hike effectively and efficiently as well as how to set up and manage trail campsites each night. As the team overcomes numerous expedition challenges, they develop a greater belief in themselves and trust in one another. Successful completion of this course requires more than the mastery of technical skills. It also requires adaptability, decision making and teamwork. The Appalachian Trail is a footpath that runs from Georgia to Maine, and is the crown jewel of trails in the United States. Students backpack for five days in the wilderness of western Maryland and southern Pennsylvania.
During the expedition, students take a break from hiking and spend an afternoon rock climbing. This challenging activity pushes students out of their comfort zones and helps develop trust among crew members. Students rely on one another for support and encouragement to reach the top of cliff faces and crags.
Service to others and to the environment are core values of Outward Bound and they are integrated into each course. Participants follow Recreate Responsibly ethics as part of their service to the environment. Students develop an ingrained appreciation of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, by multiple small acts of service with and for their crewmates while leading and supporting each other throughout the journey.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of activities. Students experience short periods of time away from their group throughout the course for reflection. These “mini-solos” are at solo sites chosen by Instructors to provide as much solitude as possible (within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water during their Solo time, and safety is always the top priority.
Helping students and their families see positive development in character skills is a key component of Outward Bound courses. After completing the course, students will receive a written narrative from their instructor that highlights how the student engaged in the course, what strengths were observed, and any recommendations for further development.
The Appalachian Trail in Maryland follows a 41-mile route along the backbone of South Mountain, a north-south ridge that extends from Pennsylvania to the Potomac River. The AT varies in elevation across the state from 230 feet to more than 1860 feet. The trail extends to the north into Southern Pennsylvania’s Michaux State Forest where Outward Bound students in this area will rock climb at one of three sites: Annapolis Rocks, Shaffer Rocks or Pole Steeple in the nearby Pine Grove Furnace State Park. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Massawomeck and Piscataway nations.
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To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.