This 50-day expedition will take you through the remote parts of Maine’s rivers, mountains and coastal areas, while preparing you for the exciting world of outdoor leadership and wilderness education.
Through training, practice, feedback and reflection, you'll gain the teaching and technical skills necessary for working in the field of outdoor education. Immerse yourself in Outward Bound history, tradition and teaching methods, while simultaneously exploring group dynamics, experiential education theory and methods and wilderness activity management. Act as both student and educator as you learn to prepare and cook food, navigate, manage risk and safety, read tides and currents and practice water safety and rescue. Alongside a community of peers, work to develop relevant skills, enhance teaching abilities and earn a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification.
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.
River Navigation, Ropes Course, Service, Whitewater Canoeing
Safety and Risk Management
Tides and Currents
Water Safety and Rescue
Positive Risk Taking
This course is closed for the season.
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, Wheeler Bay, Maine; meet the group and load boat for the sailing expedition
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.
You want to be an outdoor educator? We feel so seen. We know what it takes to gain the technical skills and field experience to build your resume and we’re here to support you on that journey. Designed specifically for individuals interested in pursuing positions as outdoor instructors, guides, or outdoor teachers, Outdoor Educator courses offer in-depth technical skill development while simultaneously exploring group dynamics, assessing risk, problem solving and leadership. Join a supportive community of like-minded adventurers and discover opportunities to be both student and educator.
Previous participants have gone on to work in all facets of our industry — as guides, instructors, and classroom teachers — and have expressed that these courses delivers invaluable experience, relevant skills, and knowledge needed to help them become better educators.
Build skills, form connections: Refine backcountry, technical, and interpersonal skills - and practice teaching them. Help students evaluate options, manage risks, and learn to engage people of different ages and backgrounds in an environment where they are “crew, not passengers.” Master the outdoor knowledge, strengths and skills that can’t be found in a traditional classroom.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Absorb the technical prowess you’ll need to master multiple outdoor activities and potentially help others do the same. Discover the power of reflection and how to create lasting impact behind every adventure, challenge and opportunity.
Demonstrate mastery: Learn from the best outdoor educators in the industry and add your own strengths as you design and lead courses, as you take on physical and mental challenges in numerous wilderness environments and as you become responsible for the creation and fulfillment of life-changing lessons.
Train in basic first aid and wilderness medicine: Learn the principles and techniques of patient assessment, care and treatment in remote and extreme environments. Earn Wilderness First Responder (WFR) Certification on select courses.
What you’ll learn: Return home with the knowledge and skills necessary for teaching and leading field-based wilderness education programs. Depending on the course, you’ll have expanded knowledge and skills relating to a variety of land and/or water-based activities. You’ll be a conscientious safety and risk management leader and you’ll have a solid grounding in the Outward Bound philosophy and methodology for teaching and facilitation.
Outdoor Educator courses allow you to work in and through the widest variety of wilderness environments and develop high level skills in each. Beyond preparing you for career opportunities in the outdoor industry, you may also earn academic credit in the field of Recreation and Outdoor Education.
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.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, the group will live closely together using only wind and oars to power their way. As they rotate responsibilities during this 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:
Learn to navigate using a map or a chart and a compass to arrive accurately at the day’s destination over mountains and across open water.
Adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind and execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind
Move the boat under oar power, 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) with the group in the backcountry, contributing energy and ideas, sharing tasks and responsibilities and relying on each other.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are essential to the outdoor educator. Students learn the skills of portaging (carrying the canoe on one’s shoulders) and lining (guiding the canoe down un-runnable rapids) as they travel through some of the amazing waterways of Maine. In learning to work and communicate well with their paddling partner each day, students discover the power of truly working together.
Expedition canoeing in Maine also means paddling white water. During the canoe expedition the group learns how to scout, paddle and manage open canoes safely in Class II rapids.
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise in backcountry first aid. This nationally recognized program trains participants to respond to emergencies in remote settings. Students spend half of the 80-hour curriculum students spend completing practical skills, case studies and scenarios designed to challenge their decision-making abilities. The other portion of training includes standards for extended care situations. In this phase of the course, students develop the following skills:
Backpacking is a great combination of team and individual elements. In the mountains, students learn map reading, cooking, how to pack and adjust their pack, foot care, hydration, knots and navigation on- and off-trail. The mountains of Maine and northern New Hampshire are rugged and wooded, at times muddy and steep, with bold granite summits and views that stretch to the horizon.
Rock climbing sessions take place at the many granite crags and cliffs that make northern New England a world-renowned climbing destination. Students learn how to properly use harnesses, helmets, ropes and belay devices. They start with the basics of tying into the rope and safely belaying each other, and practice efficient movement over rock using techniques of friction, edging and crack climbing. As the group builds experience and skills, they learn to build anchors, rappel and develop more advanced climbing techniques. Students will practice setting up ropes and climbing at various sites.
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 Recreate Responsibly 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. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. On courses longer than three weeks, Solo is up to 72 hours long.
This course focuses on developing the leadership and technical skills necessary to begin a career as an Instructor or expedition leader in wilderness environments, or to take on challenging and versatile roles in a variety of other fields. Outward Bound’s leadership curriculum is based on over 50 years of leading expeditions.
Students will refine the way they meet challenges and opportunities, relate to others and view their world. Technical skill development is a robust and challenging component of this semester program. Whether students want to pursue a career as a guide or outdoor educator, or strive to become more proficient and safe when traveling alone or with friends and family, or aspire to develop the capacity to lead in an adventurous setting, this course will expand their skill base through the instruction of experienced specialists in these skillsets.
With its intricate and indented shoreline, the Maine coast is a unique segment of the North Atlantic seaboard. It is renown among sailors for its picturesque beauty, abundant bays and harbors, rocky islands and quiet coves. The Outward Bound course area covers nearly 200 linear miles of the Maine coast, with countless rivers, bays and islands to explore. The rocky, spruce-covered islands are the summits of a prehistoric mountain range and generations of inhabitants have made their livelihoods here. Evidence left behind on the islands reveals the historic presence of indigenous Abenaki camps, pre-colonial fishing communities, post-colonial timber and farming operations and early 20th century granite quarries. Cold, nutrient-rich waters flow from the Canadian Maritimes and make the Gulf of Maine home to a wide range of sea birds, harbor seals, porpoises and whales.
The latter part of the course will take place in the mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire which comprise the northern end of the Appalachian Mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce-fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.
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.