“I connected with people I never thought I would. I will never forget the characters on this trip. I learned that staying positive makes everything more enjoyable. I had a great time.” – Student - VTYG-731 (Elise)
“After this course, a challenge doesn’t seem as hard anymore. I can finish something and put all of my effort into it, and learn something from it. I also made a lot of new friends.” – Student - VTYG -731
“This course has helped me grow my skills of being in the wilderness, particularly canoeing and rock climbing. It also helped me to realize how good my life is and it helped me want to be more gracious and have integrity. This trip will be one to remember.” – Student - VTMG-731 (Odin A. Ferenia)
“I loved this course! It helped me push beyond my limits and so much more. I learned to rock climb better and to make lots of friends. I have more courage to do things now thanks to Outward Bound. I can’t wait to do some other Outward Bound Courses.” – Student - VTMG-731 (Dylan Schultz)
River-shaped sandstone cliffs, shimmering silver maples and clean, rushing water will captivate you and your crew as you travel down the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers. These glacier-carved rivers make up the National Scenic Riverway, a prominent flyway for migratory birds and an ecological wonder of the Midwest. This stunning and diverse ecosystem also challenges your paddling skills through Class I and Class II rapids, and demands your attention as you and your crew navigate its forks, twists and turns. You will learn new skills as you set up camp, tie knots and build fires around which to enjoy delicious back-country cooking and comradery with your crew. Awe-inspiring, fun and demanding, this expedition will push you to find new personal limits and develop self-reliance, teamwork and outdoor skills in a rugged and beautiful natural classroom.
This course is closed for the season. 2019 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 Instructor, 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 paddle together on the upper section of both the Namekagon and St. Croix Rivers and enjoy pristine camping within this National Scenic Riverway. In two-person canoes, students learn to maneuver their boat through Class I or Class II rapids. After lessons in basic river travel, students learn about “reading” currents, anticipating obstacles, understanding river dynamics and working as an effective team to negotiate both technical and calm portions of the river. Students also learn about weather, swimming in moving water, paddle techniques and the importance of Leave No Trace ethics when camping and traveling.
Known by many as one of the best climbing crags in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Interstate State Park offers 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 as they spend at least two days at Blue Mounds.
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.
This solitude or “Solo” experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their time at Outward Bound. Many students use this reflection time to journal, make decisions about their future 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. Typically for half a day, with all the food, skills and supplies they need, students are given a secluded spot to reflect alone and are monitored by staff throughout to maintain safety. Students tend to 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.
Service is a cornerstone of every Outward Bound experience. From the seemingly small daily acts of service to the environment to the regular tasks of being part of an expeditionary team, 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, trails and waterways 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.
Middle school students will build confidence as they work on an “I can do it” attitude; develop their identity by recognizing their strengths and taking responsibility; and contribute to and affirm their role within the crew. Students will learn the meaning of being “crew, not passengers” as each team member has a specific leadership role, ensuring that all contribute to group success. They will build a strong team as they set and achieve daily goals and practice compassion toward one another and the environment. Students will leave the course with as sense of pride and belonging knowing, “we did it together!”
Regardless of the course type, students can expect to get comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while creating a solid foundation of skills they can continue to build on after the course.
St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Wisconsin & Minnesota
The Riverway starts as the Namekagon River in Northern Wisconsin and flows into the St. Croix River just north of Danbury, Wisconsin, where the river becomes the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota. The entire Riverway includes over 200 miles of river travel and many rapids up to Class I or Class II, depending on water levels. The river section concludes near Minnesota’s Interstate State Park in Taylor’s Falls, Minnesota.
Carved by glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, the Riverway harbors centuries-old rock formations and glacial potholes found in very few places on earth. This corridor provides scenic views and a haven for native fish and wildlife including bald eagles, osprey, fox and bear. With a rich natural and human history including Dakota, Ojibwe, Voyageurs, loggers and settlers, traveling the St. Croix Scenic Riverway gives students a chance enjoy a wilderness-like experience while connecting to the past within easy reach of a major metropolitan area.
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.