“I would not have learned so much if I was not pushed out of my comfort zone. It was exactly what I needed at this point in my life.” Ellis E., Student
Winding canoe trails, grazing manatees, epic sunsets and camping on beaches underneath the stars, set the scene as you travel between two of Florida’s unique waterways on an adventure of a lifetime. From the sub-tropical Ten Thousand Islands, up into the historic Suwannee River, you and your crew travel by canoe caring for each other and the world around you. Whether studying exotic wildlife and the environments they live in, engaging in service-learning in the community or learning to navigate and work together, this course challenges you to become your best self.
Pathfinder is deliberate in its approach for young people seeking help in ‘finding their path’ in life. The wilderness classroom allows students to develop an extensive range of technical outdoor skills. More importantly, Pathfinder participants acquire transferable skills like effective communication, self-awareness and resiliency. Physically challenging activities coupled with ample time for self-assessment and reflection leave students with a clarified sense of identity and a direction and purpose for life after they return home.
|NEPC-961||2.24.19 - 3.25.19||30||18 - 25||$5,895||ENROLL|
This course may be full or preparing to leave in the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
Sometimes you don’t know where you want to go in life until you spend a few weeks in the middle of nowhere. Pathfinder expeditions give you time and space to understand what’s important to you and the skills to get there. Over the next 30 days, you’ll rise to meet natural challenges, becoming accustomed to setting goals, making decisions, and recovering from set-backs, all of which help clarify bigger choices that await you in life beyond your course.
Return home after broadening your horizons, learning how to adapt to new environments and trying untested possibilities, with an action plan for the future. With newfound leadership potential, self-awareness, and problem-solving skills, you’ll be ready for your next big step.
Before course starts, students identify a member of their support system (parent, friend, coach, teacher, etc.) who help them stay committed to their goals once they return home from course. Then, prior to the completion of course, students participate in a conference call with that support person and an Outward Bound instructor. The purpose of the call is to discuss lessons learned during course, identify goals for the future, and how to incorporate this newfound knowledge into their lives at home.
Trade the backpacks for canoes during the Florida phase of this course. Expeditioning by canoe provides the ultimate freedom and ability to travel nimbly through this diverse 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.
Participants prepare for the unexpected by earning a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification This fast-paced, hands-on training is designed to teach skills to care for those who become ill or injured and are far from definitive medical care. Offered through a partnership with Landmark Learning, an accredited organization, this certification includes classroom lectures and demonstrations combined with realistic scenarios where mock patients challenge participants to use what they've learned.
For thousands of years, and across many cultures, solitude and reflection in nature have helped young adults to recognize and bring forth their personal gifts. Solo is a rite of passage on any Outward Bound course, and it is highlighted on this Pathfinder course to help participants prepare to chart their path and contribute more fully to their lives, their future and their communities.
During Solo, Instructors assign students to their own individual sites within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and Instructors for safety. Students will have all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. They also know the location of their Instructors’ camp site should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience. Solo is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities. Participants return from Solo with a new perspective on the parts of themselves they are ready to leave behind and those they want to embrace as they move forward. On this course, students will participate in a Solo progression that includes daily reflection time and a multi-day Solo experience.
The Final Expedition of a Pathfinder course provides students with the opportunity to be responsible for caring for themselves and each other in the backcountry. On Final Expedition, the Instructors step back and the students take on the responsibility for route planning, navigation, time-management and communication. Students develop confidence in their leadership, technical and interpersonal skills as they work together to complete the expedition.
Service has always been an integral part of Outward Bound, providing the opportunity for students to experience a deeper relationship with the environment and the local communities that surround the course area. Students can expect to engage in several service projects that may include trail maintenance, building and grounds maintenance in local recreation areas, invasive species management, working with rescue animals, or building houses. Students explore the role of service on course and in their life at home and reflect on the impact of service on the community and themselves.
Waterways of Central Florida
Central Florida is home to some of the country’s most historic and biologically diverse waterways. It offers paddling on small, winding canoe trails as well as larger rivers and lakes, with camping in a variety of environments from hardwood hammock forests to barrier islands. The Suwannee River, Ocklawaha River, and St John’s River offer hundreds of miles of paddling in some of the country’s most unspoiled wilderness. These rivers support a variety of ecosystems including freshwater springs, swamps, sandy beaches and salt marshes. Shaded by giant Cypress and Tupelo trees, these rivers support a variety of wildlife and have deep cultural histories. On Central Florida’s east coast, the Indian River Lagoon, which encompasses Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and Canaveral National Seashore, is the most diverse estuary in North America. Nearly one third of the nation’s manatee population resides in this 156 mile-long waterway, along with an abundance of dolphins and other marine life.
Ten Thousand Islands/Florida Everglades
Everglades National Park and Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge encompass the largest sub-tropical wilderness in the United States with the Everglades being the third-largest national park in the lower 48 states. The aquatic preserve includes more than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish and 40 species of mammals within its confines. Everglades National Park is one of only three locations in the world to show up on the following lists: International Biosphere Reserve, Wetland of an International Importance and World Heritage Site. 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 November 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.
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.