“I liked the education of styles of communication and the tools for families and kids, as well as the expedition for kids. The expedition is simply an incredible tool for growth. I want to go on one of my own!.” – Ann, Parent of Intercept Alumnus
“I liked that this program mirrors life in our home. That it uses mother nature to teach life lessons, then tools for what occurs in life back home.” – Carol, Parent of Intercept Alumnus
“We like that it is not just about the outdoors or adventure. The program does an excellent job of tying in developmental lessons and great conflict resolution methodologies that can create a nice level playing field for families when we leave.” – George, Parent of Intercept Alumnus
Designed specifically to help families rebuild strong, healthy family relationships in an awe-inspiring true American wilderness, this expedition is geared towards teens who are struggling with low self-image, engaging in potentially risky behaviors, not living up to their potential and making poor decisions. During the expedition, instructors facilitate activities that focus on building teamwork skills, making better decisions and considering the relationship between freedom and responsibilities at home. The goal is to help each student find the leader within themselves. At the end of the wilderness expedition there is an intensive family conference and workshop that helps families leverage the experience into a model for everyday life. Students and their families walk away with a new outlook, a new plan and a new optimism for success. This Intercept expedition also includes two days of community service at locations such as a local CSA farm, Habitat for Humanity or the Salvation Army.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 courses coming soon.
Outward Bound Intercept expeditions are specifically designed for struggling teens and their families. These highly structured courses remove young people from daily pressures and influences and present them instead with natural challenges, guided risks and a supportive environment. More than just resolving destructive behaviors, these courses develop positive decision-making skills, strengthen their ability to build healthy and lasting relationships, and cultivate a positive self-image. Compassionate Instructors help students and parents find a healthy sense of boundaries so families interact more effectively with one another and the world around them.
With the support of Outward Bound’s Intercept program, and the dedicated involvement of both students and their families, relationships start fresh, perceived limitations are overcome, new opportunities emerge and new futures are created.
Students embark on an unsupported wilderness canoeing expedition, meaning they carry with them everything they will need for a three-week adventure. Expert Instructors teach the art of paddling a canoe in a variety of conditions, as well as map and compass reading, route finding and Leave No Trace wilderness ethics. Groups navigate a variety of waterways such as lakes, rivers and marshland, enjoying the pristine air, water and forests of the untouched wilderness. Working as a team, students carry packs and canoes over portage trails that bridge the land between bodies of water 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.
On scenic granite cliffs near the Boundary Waters wilderness, students enjoy a day of rock climbing and rappelling. These 50 foot to 70 foot cliffs offer a variety of beginner and intermediate climbs that provide an ideal introduction to rock climbing. Regardless of a student’s rock climbing and rappelling background, everyone is sure to find challenge and success.
All Outward Bound rock climbing and rappelling experiences are carefully supervised and employ safety systems aligned with national standards. During climbing days, students learn about rock climbing equipment, safety and etiquette, belaying techniques and climbing rescue techniques. Encouraged and supported by their group, students push their perceived limits and expand their comfort zones in a safe, fun and non-competitive environment.
One day of whitewater canoeing and a half-day of whitewater kayaking add to the excitement and breadth of the experience. 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. This course offers students the opportunity to increase their skill and knowledge of whitewater paddling as they progress from maneuvering in small currents to more challenging rapids. Emphasis is placed on boat control, safety and enjoying the thrill of whitewater paddling.
Looking out over the top of boreal forest and the Kawishiwi River, the High Ropes Course is an incredible adventure-obstacle course set 30 feet in the air. During this half-day experience at the end of their expedition, students swing from Tarzan ropes, walk on tightrope wires and climb a cargo net, among other things, before connecting to the zip line for an exhilarating ride back to solid ground.
By the end of the course, students have made great strides having learned how to balance freedom and responsibility, how to be part of a team and how to make positive choices. They feel a sense of pride in themselves and their accomplishments and have a fresh perspective and outlook on their lives, but now it’s back to reality. How do teens and families translate the incredible Intercept experience into lasting positive change? Parents or guardians are a critical link in the success of the Intercept experience. Throughout the course, parents and guardians have the opportunity to think through their relationship with their teen by using a comprehensive workbook. Then, during an intensive three-day seminar, Instructors help translate the student experience to parents and guardians, giving families an opportunity to practice tools and strategies used on the expedition, creating a solid foundation of understanding and support for the path ahead.
The next step is the family conference and debrief. Families meet one-on-one with at least one of the expedition Instructors to learn how their young adult fared on the course. They hear a detailed account of what the course was like, the struggles and success of the group and how their young adult handled the challenges. With the Instructor, families prepare for the next day’s meeting where they make a plan for the future. Together with an Instructor acting as a facilitator, families come up with a new agreement to guide life at home. The goal for the family is to re-establish healthy roles and connections, restore any past harm, rebuild trust and create clear expectations for the future. The goal for the student is to have a voice in the direction their life takes and to clearly understand and commit to their responsibilities in order to earn trust and more freedom at home.
Service is a cornerstone of every Outward Bound experience. From the seemingly small, daily acts of service to the environment and the expedition team to the post-expedition service-learning projects, students have ample opportunities to experience the value of giving back to the larger community. On the expedition, students are encouraged to practice environmental stewardship in the form of Leave No Trace ethics - leaving campsites and trails in better condition than they found them. Students also practice regular acts of service for their team including preparing and serving meals, helping others put on or take off packs, or setting up shelters for the entire team. After the expedition, students participate in two days of organized service to the community. These projects are designed to offer as much interaction with local communities as possible, as a way of exchanging cultural awareness and fostering a sense of connection to the larger world. The specific type of service project depends on local needs and opportunities but often include serving at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, senior center, nature center, or horse ranch for underprivileged youth.
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 external 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, participants 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 experience.
Courses are offered in a variety of locations and for different lengths to provide a range of programming from which participants can choose the optimal experience for them. Longer courses allow for a 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 Intercept course in particular offers the opportunity to be fully removed from the temptations and triggers of day-to-day life and start fresh with new habits and new lessons. Students can expect to get comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while creating a solid foundation of skill sets and they can continue to build on after course. With the added support of parent or guardian involvement, students are really able to take lessons they’ve learned on this course back to their home lives and implement the changes they want to see.
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota
Established in 1964, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) is a labyrinth of lakes and rocks 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 has changed little since its unveiling when the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago. Over 1 million acres in size, the BWCAW extends nearly 150 miles along the 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 an amazing place to experience the wilderness. The Boundary Waters contains portage-linked lakes and streams, interspersed with islands, forests and ancient granite crags, offering outstanding opportunities for world-class paddling, solitude, remoteness, teamwork, adventure and challenge. It is also home to a healthy diversity of plant and animal life including massive white pine and cedar groves, black bear, timber wolves, bald eagles and river otter. The Boundary Waters has no piped water, prepared shelters or signs to point the way. Within these borders you can canoe, portage and camp in the spirit of the French-Canadian Voyageurs of 200 years ago.
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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.