More than a technical skills course, this 12-day sea kayaking and backpacking expedition offers the chance to grow as an individual and as a leader. Explore the Chesapeake Bay from the hull of a kayak. Traverse the Appalachian Trail by foot. At every step, work as a group to overcome expedition challenges, develop a greater belief in yourself and your crew and learn why teamwork is often more important than everything else combined. As you move through stunning natural landscapes and encounter physical, mental and emotional obstacles, you’ll discover the importance of perseverance – and identify and refine the leadership skills you already possess.
This course is closed for the season. 2021 courses coming soon.
Are you ready to take a journey that will change your life? You won’t look at day-to-day drama the same way after you’ve conquered a high mountain ridge, made a boat obey your command in windswept waves or slept under the stars watching bats swoop overhead. Joining an Outward Bound expedition changes you. Your crew, your Instructor, your route and your adventures will have a profound and lasting impact on you as you rise to meet exhilarating natural challenges in some of the country’s wildest places.
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.
Settled by the Powhatan Indians and first explored by Captain John Smith in the 1600s, history and nature intersect in the Chesapeake Bay to create a place with endless potential for discovery. Students paddle throughout the Chesapeake Bay, camping each night along the shoreline. Instructors teach proper sea kayaking techniques such as paddling, rolls and wet exits. Students also learn marine navigation and face challenges that develop advanced leadership skills separate from the technical skills they will be mastering.
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 projects are often integrated into Outward Bound expeditions through coordination with land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics. Outward Bound expeditions are designed to cultivate a service-ethic and, thereby, to inspire students to return home as agents of change in their communities. Many students will also have a chance to work on an ongoing project inside of the park where Baltimore’s Campus is located. The project aims to make Baltimore one of the nation’s only urban bird treaty cities through a collaboration with Baltimore Wilderness Coalition, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
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. Each student will complete a 19-question self-assessment designed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to measure growth in four specific socio-emotional skills: conflict management, emotional self-efficacy, grit/resilience and problem solving. After completing the course, students will receive a Report Card that illustrates the improvement in these areas, as well as a written narrative from the Instructor that highlights additional takeaways for the student.
Chesapeake Bay, Nanticoke River
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the nation - the meeting point where 400 rivers, creeks, and streams spanning from New York to Virginia all travel to the Atlantic Ocean. It boasts 4,600 miles of tidal shoreline perfect for kayaking. Outward Bound courses use a section of the historic 3,000-mile Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail which trace the 1607–1609 voyages of Captain John Smith to chart the land and waterways of the Bay. Along with the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, it is one of two water trails designated as National Historic Trails.
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.
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.