What did you learn about yourself (or about life) as a result of your course?
“I learned I am a very kind-hearted person who can push oneself to crazy limits. I found my passion for closing chapters of my life and to start helping others, excited for the journey to begin.” – Matthew, Voyageur Outward Bound School Alum
“This course changed me, physically and emotionally. I am a better and stronger person from this course. I learned to be self-reliant, independent, and strong; emotionally and physically capable of more than I thought.” – Laurel, Voyageur Outward Bound School Alum
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. During this intensive 9-week semester course, the border lakes region of Minnesota and Canada serves as a unique and inspiring classroom for significant leadership development. While hands-on experience develops 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 facilitation and the ethic of service.
*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.
|VMGL-071||6.16.20 - 8.10.20||56||18 and up||$9,695||APPLY NOW|
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
Most College Savings Plans, including the 529 College Savings Plan, may be used to attend an Outward Bound expedition, thanks to a partnership with Western Colorado University. Anyone can register – you do not have to be a current Western Colorado University student. Registration is easy! Click here to learn more.
Break away from traditional education and make the world your classroom on an Outward Bound Semester expedition. Experience life adventures and expand your skills as you interact with new environments and diverse cultures. Form lasting relationships with outdoor experts and crewmates who are sharing the same successes, failures and discoveries. Strengthen your commitment to community as you participate in service projects that support local needs.
Exploring new environments and building new connections will put your tenacity to the test. You’ll return with broader understanding of the natural world around you, deeper appreciation for small kindnesses and greater confidence in yourself and others that will serve you well long after you return.
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.
On this extended canoe expedition, students learn the art of paddling a canoe in a variety of conditions, reading a map and compass, route finding and Leave No Trace wilderness living principles. Groups navigate a variety of waterways such as lakes, rivers and swamps. Students work 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 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. Students learn the art of paddling a sea kayak in varied weather and landing the craft in a variety of conditions, navigation 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.
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 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 multiple 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 Superior Hiking Trail a great backpacking experience for all skill levels.
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), adding to the excitement and breadth of the experience. Emphasis is placed on boat control, safety and enjoying the thrill of whitewater paddling. 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 and located 30 feet in the air, the high ropes course is incredible. 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.
An intensive three-day Wilderness First Aid certification course teaches students the essentials of wilderness medicine and managing backcountry emergencies, providing them with skills to be safe and self-reliant.
Service to the environment and to others is one of the core values of Outward Bound. Students are encouraged to practice service to the environment; leaving campsites cleaner than they found them and practicing Leave No Trace ethics. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects while other projects may be based in the local community. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, and transfer this desire to serve to their communities back home.
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 stimulation of modern life. The duration of Solo depends on the course length and type, as well as the competency and preparedness of the student group. With all the food, skills and supplies they need, students are given a secluded spot to reflect alone, and are monitored by staff throughout the experience to maintain safety. 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 course.
Longer courses allow for 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 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 skillsets 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 1978, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) 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 one million acres in size, the BWCAW extends 150 miles along the Minnesota/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. It 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. Paddling routes offer outstanding opportunities for solitude, remoteness, teamwork, adventure and challenge.
Lake Superior, Ontario
The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is a wilderness archipelago along the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior. 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 is a 296-mile footpath that largely follows the rocky ridgeline above Lake Superior on Minnesota's North Shore from Duluth to the Canadian border. Well-marked trails, campsites and challenging terrain make this a perfect thru-hike destination.
National Geographic says the Superior Hiking Trail “is the best long hike in the country between the Continental Divide and the Appalachian Trail.” At its lowest elevation, along the lakeshore, the trail is 602 feet above sea level. At its highest point the trail is 1,750 feet above sea level and more than 1,000 feet above Lake Superior. The Superior Hiking Trail is characterized by ascents to rock outcroppings and cliffs and descents into numerous river and creek valleys that feature abundant wildlife viewing opportunities.
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.