Embark on a true aquatic adventure – learning backcountry expeditionary skills while navigating and exploring the varied ecosystems and waterways of Florida.
This wilderness-skills oriented leadership Semester course offers the chance to challenge yourself, practice leadership skills and foster a strong sense of personal development while traveling through the unique and varied watery ecosystems of the most remote parts of Florida.
This course is ideal for team-oriented individuals seeking challenge and adventure in unique environments. While living and traveling in the classroom of the great outdoors in expeditionary canoes and on a traditional sailing boat, you will gain a clear sense of your abilities, build strong bonds with your group and walk away with a greater understanding of the wilderness, the world and yourself.
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.
Build skills, form connections: Amidst rugged natural landscapes, learn to lead and to follow; to give and receive feedback; and to trust in your own capabilities as you expand your technical and personal knowledge base. 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, exercise your independence as you gain life experience and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and supporting your crew as you tackle obstacles together, big and small.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills and a better understanding of the natural world around you, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as independent individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Examine your personal values and discover more about your true self. Hone your technical abilities as you become a master at ropes courses or swiftwater rescue techniques. Numerous certificates are available depending on the course, and up to 18 credit hours can be earned along the way.
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.
of James Mixon
of James Mixon
of William Jewell
This course starts out traveling by canoe through some of the country’s most historic and biologically diverse waterways. Canoeing provides the ultimate freedom and ability to travel nimbly through this varied ecosystem. Students use tandem, or two person canoes, which fosters teamwork and communication skills. Along the way, they will take turns navigating and leading their crew as they see hundreds of natural wonders and discover they are stronger than they know. Students learn paddling skills, orienteering and expedition planning as well as Leave No Trace wilderness living, cooking and camp set up.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin or engine, the group will live closely together using only wind and oars to power their way. As they rotate responsibilities during the expedition, 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.
On this course, students:
Adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind, and to execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind
Navigate using a chart and compass to arrive accurately at the day’s destination, using techniques that include taking bearings, dead reckoning, triangulation and sounding
Move the boat under oars, coordinating all of the rowers' movements so that the oars splash as one, precisely maneuvering in and out of secluded anchorages
Live (cook, eat, sleep, work and learn) as a team aboard a small open sailboat, contributing energy and ideas, sharing tasks and responsibilities and relying on each other.
Personal Challenge Event
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 own all of their decisions and efforts in contrast to the time they have spent operating within an expedition team.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While in the wilderness, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the expedition.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition to give students quiet time to reflect on the Outward Bound experience. With the basics of food and equipment, and with safety a top priority, students will take some time away from the group to be alone at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of the course. Often located along beautiful lake shorelines or peaceful rivers, Solo sites 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 learned and focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals. Solo will take place over night, and may extend up to 72 hours long.
This semester focuses on developing a solid foundation of expedition skills and a greater understanding of and appreciation for the natural world. While immersed in a challenging wilderness expedition, each student will take on leadership roles. Outward Bound’s curriculum combines skills necessary to become proficient in wilderness travel, and interpersonal skills that will benefit students in any setting. Through a series of different activities, students practice applying general principles in different elements and environments, deepening their understanding of each skill and building greater levels of ability. In addition to being a memorable adventure, this semester promotes situational thinking, individual and group goal setting, evaluation of options and decision-making and flexibility and effectiveness in problem solving.
The Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands
The Everglades are the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the United States and third-largest national park in the lower 48 states. The aquatic preserve is home to an array of wild creatures and exotic plant life. More than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals and 50 reptile species live within it. Because of this, it is one of only three locations in the world to show-up on the following lists, an International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance and World Heritage Site.
This course area is in a subtropical region, with a 12-month growing season. The Florida peninsula is believed to be the last part of the continental United States to rise from the ocean, making it the youngest region geologically and only Alaska can claim a longer shoreline. The Everglades are mild and pleasant from December through April, with low humidity and clear skies. Temperatures reach average highs of 88 degrees and lows of 54 degrees. Strong cold fronts may occasionally create near freezing conditions, but such events are rare in this subtropical climate. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Calusa and Seminole nations.
The Florida Keys, Florida Bay, and Everglades National Park
Home to numerous birds and abundant marine life, the region owes its productivity to the confluence of water flowing out of the Everglades into inner Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The backcountry of Florida Bay offers challenging shoal draft navigation and the opportunity to explore mangrove keys, tidal flats and coral patch reefs. These warm, shallow waters provide an exciting cruising area for Outward Bound’s sailing boats and some of the best training ground for developing advanced sailing skills. The Atlantic side offers excellent open water sailing and snorkeling at the outer reefs. The course area extends to the Everglades, with beautiful sand beaches and a maze of rivers and bays to explore. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Seminole, Matecumbe, Cuchiyaga, Guarungumbe, Calusa, and Tequesta nations.
Travel to Florida – course start at Fort Lauderdale Airport
Introduction to Florida: canoeing equipment and marine environment
Canoeing training expedition: navigation, tides, rescue and marine camping skills
Canoeing main expedition: advanced navigation, goal setting, group feedback, conflict resolution
Canoeing final expedition: student leadership and independent travel
Clean and de-issue gear, showers, banquet
Course transition to Big Pine Key – drive, laundry upon arrival, check-ins.
Arrival and Orientation at Big Pine Key
Sailing expedition, incorporating Life Guarding Certification and a multi-day Solo
Transition back to base, clean up and prepare for departure home
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.
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.