The Oregon Rafting and Service course for LGBTQ youth offers students an opportunity to connect with other members of the LGBTQ community on an 11-day expedition. The course begins in Portland, Oregon where students will connect as a team through low and high ropes course elements. You will then head to central Oregon for six days of rafting on the Deschutes River. From the river, we will transition back to the urban setting of Portland, Oregon to engage in the service section of this course during the Portland PRIDE festival.
This program is designed specifically for LGBTQ young adult population and led by LGBTQ Outward Bound Instructors. The course is an open and affirming space for sharing experiences and building community while exploring the great outdoors, amongst the affirming and healing powers of the wilderness. During a time of development when LGBTQ youth may not have supportive or safe space, this course builds esteem and community, and creates opportunity to make lifelong friendships.
Students should expect a traditional Outward Bound course structure where students learn technical skills and take responsibility for daily activities and the progress of the expedition as the week goes on. Students should also expect a progression of activities to initiate personal growth and conversation about shared experiences as LGBTQ youth. We will spend time having guided discussions surrounding LGBTQ topics, as well as individual reflection, amongst the affirming and healing powers of the wilderness.
Outward Bound is excited to partner with OUT There Adventures (OTA) for this course, a Seattle based non-profit committed to fostering positive identity development, individual empowerment and improved quality of life for queer young people through professionally facilitated experiential education activities. OTA staff will be present on course to support our students as well as to provide follow-up through an 11-month service-leadership program in which students will take the knowledge and skills acquired on this course back to their respective communities.
This course is closed for the season. 2020 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 Instructors, 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.
Students will travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, and learn to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II and III rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students will progress into learning to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids, and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students will also learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques, and expeditionary travel. While on the rafting expedition, there may also be an opportunity for short day hikes.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Students develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. This course corresponds with the Portland PRIDE festival. Students will have the opportunity to experience or volunteer at the event. Other projects will focus on serving the Portland LGBTQ community.
In order for profound learning to take place, students need time to reflect on their experience, and Solo is that opportunity. 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. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first portions of the course. The amount of time students spend on Solo is based on length of course, weather, student condition, age, and Instructor preference. Solo campsites 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, reflecting, thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each student at regular intervals, as safety is always the top priority.
Outward Bound courses vary in length from 4 to 85 days. On shorter courses, students will receive an intro to leadership skills, an opportunity to develop their character, and the chance to provide service to others and the environment. This course was designed to serve the LGBTQ young adult population by offering a mentally and physically challenging experience that sends students home with a shared sense of community and feelings of accomplishment. The structure of this course is similar to a Classic Outward Bound course; however special focus and attention will be lent toward creating an affirming space for sharing experiences and building community: elements that are fundamental building blocks for healthy futures of LGBTQ young adults.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades, feeds into the Columbia River, and ultimately on to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for whitewater rafting since the river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. Courses generally travel anywhere from fifty to one hundred miles along the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to Class III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river. The Deschutes region has a colorful human history, and a railroad borders much of the length of the Lower Deschutes.
This course will begin and end in Oregon’s largest city, which sits on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers with Mount Hood on the horizon. Portland offers rich histories, diverse cultural traditions and foods, and an abundance of service opportunities. The City of Roses will be your classroom as you continue your expedition of discovery, team-building and skill development from the wilderness.
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.