Explore and journey through the picturesque waterways of western Maine on this nine-day canoe expedition.
Maine Rangeley Lakes Canoeing expeditions uncover opportunities for challenge and triumph in a unique wilderness environment while learning teamwork and leadership skills. Heading out on the lakes and rivers of western Maine, you’ll learn to camp and travel simply, relying on your group, the supplies you have on hand and the skills you learn as you go. You’ll have the opportunity to become a master in lake navigation, paddling techniques, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite setup among other things. You’ll have time to sit on the rocks and reflect on your progress as you think about the journey that still lies ahead. Leadership responsibilities are shared so every crew member is integral to planning the journey. Equally important to these wilderness skills you’ll acquire, you will also discover how best to live and work closely together as a cohesive group. The habits learned and strengthened through this canoeing expedition will serve you long after you return home.
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.
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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.
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Travel to course area, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to camping
Teambuilding: rock climbing or ropes course
Final expedition, return to basecamp, Personal Challenge Event, equipment clean-up and de-issue
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. 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, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
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.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoorsperson. In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke. To get from one waterway into another, the group will portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders), and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of un-runnable rapids). Team work skills are honed as every member of the crew learns to communicate well as they coordinate efforts with paddling partners each day. Discovering the power of people truly working together is a keystone of the experience.
Among the mountains of western Maine are many granite cliffs, known locally as “Little Bear,” “Bald,” “Table Rock,” and “Square Ledges.” For one day of course, Instructors will help students transfer learning from their canoe expedition experience to the rock face, or ropes course. The group will have the opportunity to learn to use climbing equipment, tie knots and climb and belay each other as a team, either at a granite rock face en-route or on a ropes course at our base camp (weather permitting). Climbing develops balance, coordination, flexibility and grace. Climbing also presents many individual as well as group challenges the whole group must accomplish by working together.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government 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 course. On one-week courses, Solo is four to 12 hours long.
Nine-day courses for 13- to 14-year-olds are designed to introduce teenagers to Outward Bound. Supportive Instructors teach the skills of wilderness travel and guide the formation of the group into an expedition team. As the students’ abilities grow, Instructors intentionally and progressively challenge them to take on more responsibilities, try out more leadership roles and develop a heightened sense of self and purpose. Students share ideas, experiment, triumph…and often fail, all under the close supervision of caring Instructors. While safety is conscientiously maintained, students may feel moments of frustration, disappointment and fatigue. These are the times when learning is most impactful. Instructors guide crew members to review their choices, weigh the results, decide what changes to make and try again. Through the process of failure and bouncing back, decision making skills are reinforced, as well as responsibility and resiliency, ensuring the group knows that all successes are truly earned. Students return home motivated to engage more at home, at school, on teams and in their communities.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin watershed are fed by Aziscohos Lake, the Magalloway River and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used the Androscoggin as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast and as a source of food. Later the Androscoggin River was used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the nineteenth century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fishermen and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries. These regions are the ancestral land of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.
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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.