Designed specifically for individuals interested in becoming instructors, guides or teachers, this course offers in-depth learning in mountaineering, sea kayaking and first aid, while simultaneously exploring group dynamics, experiential education theory and methods, and wilderness activity management. Act as both student and educator as you work with a community of peers to develop relevant skills, enhance teaching abilities and earn Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. Guides, instructors, classroom teachers, and managers throughout the outdoor industry all credit this course with offering a foundation of knowledge that made them better educators.
This course is closed for the season. 2018 dates coming October 25.
Outward Bound Instructor Development courses open doors in the outdoor education industry. One of the nation’s best outdoor education training programs, Instructor courses teach deep technical skills and provide in-depth knowledge of the Outward Bound learning approach. Guided by specialists in the field, get the hands-on training you’ll need to jumpstart a career in the outdoors.
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.
The course starts with almost two weeks of sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands, exploring the inner coastal waters that make this area a renowned cruising ground in the United States. Students paddle in single and double kayaks, seeking out beaches to sleep under the stars and getting acquainted with the fascinating natural and cultural history of the Pacific Northwest coast. Becoming a competent sea kayaker involves learning how to read a chart, perform self and assisted rescues, use a paddle efficiently and assess the sea conditions appropriate to each student and the group’s abilities. Students gain skills in reading currents and tides, kayak rescue techniques, marine navigation and assessing the weather. Team building and learning about marine environments are emphasized during this section.
Nine days of the course will be spent completing 80 hours of advanced backcountry first aid and evacuation techniques. Mornings are generally devoted to lectures and exams with afternoons devoted to practical hands-on sessions and rescue simulations. Expect many rescue simulations with made-up victims and stage blood that will be videotaped for enhanced learning. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Successful completion of this section involves full participation in the field simulations and written exams that make up the assessment process. Students will receive WFR and BLS-CPR certification cards from Wilderness Medical Training Center upon completion of the course. These are the industry-standard medical certifications that are required for professionals in the outdoor industry.
The rock and mountain section focuses on mountaineering with an emphasis on institutional top-rope climbing management. Students learn skills such as knots and hitches, fixed lines, climbing technique and anchor building. Each day presents a different focus, with ample time for experiential learning. The instructor-to-student ratio is never more than 1:5 during this section, allowing for personal coaching on the physical techniques of climbing and mountaineering, as well as catering the curriculum to the specific interests and aptitudes of individual course participants.
The last 6-10 days of the mountain section will include travel independent from the Instructors, in which the students design and prepare for their own expedition. During this final expedition, the students will navigate, travel, camp and work together without oversight from their instructors, who will be following the group to aid in case of emergency. This culminating backpacking trip is a unique opportunity for students to really put all their skills together as a highly-functioning expedition team, and may include on- and off-trail travel as well as a non-technical peak attempt.
Toward the end of the course, students have the opportunity to practice the educational skills used to lead groups in a wilderness environment. Many students consider this the highlight of the course because it allows for the use of many of the skills that have been learned in the past six weeks. We typically partner with local schools to give the students practical teaching/instruction experience. Two days of intensive training and practice led by the Outward Bound staff prepare students to fill the instructional role with confidence and competence. Students receive direct, constructive feedback from Outward Bound staff about their performance.
Solo is an important part of the Outward Bound experience and allows students time to rest, recharge and reflect on their own development towards the end of the course. Solos may vary from a few hours up to three days depending on the length of the course, age and maturity of the students and itinerary of the expedition. During solo, students set up their own independent campsite near their instructors and spend their time resting, writing in their journal, enjoying the quiet of the wilderness and reflecting on their experience. Instructors will check on the students throughout their solo. For many students, solo is both a challenge and a respite and is often a highlight of their course.
San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, Washington
Nestled between Vancouver Island and the North Cascades, the San Juan Islands are a unique coastal cruising ground with large expanses of sparkling water and mountain scenery. Students encounter coastlines with a combination of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid and reef-studded bays. Knotty, twisted madrona trees grow along much of the shorelines while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas. Sightings of harbor seals, porpoise and eagles are common as well as the occasional glimpse of an Orca whale. The islands get less average rainfall than the surrounding area due to the rain-shadow effect of the Olympic Mountains. Summertime high temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit while lows could be in the 40’s.
The North Cascades, Washington
The North Cascades are called the “American Alps” for their rugged beauty and glaciated peaks. They remain some of the wildest and most untrammeled wilderness in the United States. The North Cascades host the greatest concentration of glaciers in the “Lower 48” and are full of high mountain meadows peppered with wild flowers. This course area hosts some of the most famous alpine climbing and backpacking routes in the United States. Backpacking programs operate in the Pasayten Wilderness and North Cascades National Park on the east side of the North Cascades and receive significantly less rainfall than the western coast of Washington.
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.