Challenge yourself while backpacking through the picturesque Appalachian Mountains and canoeing through s-shaped chasms of the Delaware River Water Gap on this leadership-building journey with Outward Bound.
This multi-element leadership course is an opportunity for you to challenge yourself backpacking and canoeing through the picturesque Appalachian Mountains and Delaware River Water Gap (the longest free-flowing river in the Eastern United States). Live and travel through the S-shaped chasm where the river cuts a twisting path through 1,400-foot Kittatinny Ridge. Take on new and exciting challenges and feel the adrenaline rush as you learn what it means to be part of a crew. You’ll trust, communicate, motivate and support one another as you test personal limits, practice leadership and teamwork, build confidence and compassion, and meet personal and group goals. You will be positioned to inspire others and sharpen your leadership skills in the outdoor environment. Leave No Trace™ ethics, backcountry technical skills and leadership development practices are part of your training. No prior experience is necessary, but you should bring an open mind, be prepared to take your skills to the next level and push yourself beyond what you thought possible.
You should arrive physically and mentally prepared for an “Expedition-style” course, meaning you’ll leave the Philadelphia base on the first day of course to travel the backcountry by foot or canoe daily, and not return to base until the last day of the course. You and your group will be moving to a new campsite every night as you travel along your expedition route. This means no showers (perhaps some swimming), no cell phones, no television, nor any other modern luxuries to which you may be accustomed. You should come to your course prepared for, and excited about, devoting all of your time and energy to your expedition, your crew and your Outward Bound experience!
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.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
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.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Backpacking along the Appalachian Trail in the Delaware Water Gap
Resupply & flatwater paddle school
Canoeing on the Delaware River in the Delaware Water Gap
Canoeing on the Delaware River in the Delaware Water Gap
Transport back to Philadelphia for graduation and crew BBQ
Do you ever want to unplug, step away from your daily responsibilities, and face new challenges? Adventure is calling! Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for adults are designed to help you hit the reset button by breaking your routines and radically changing your surroundings. This is an opportunity to build new skills and remind yourself (or discover for the first time) what it feels like to crest a mountain peak, hear the echoes at the edge of a vast canyon, or feel the rush of whitewater. Put some “firsts” in front of you and you’ll find that the moments of unexpected discovery linger long after you return home.
Build skills, form connections: Meet like-minded peers and make connections as you work through priorities and adventures together, learn outdoor skills at the hands of expert Instructors, and earn every good night’s sleep.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Re-discover your inner strength, renew your natural leadership abilities and practice adapting to new environments. Tap in to your trust and compassion as you tackle obstacles with a support crew standing beside you.
Demonstrate mastery: As you awaken your wilderness skills and dig deep to rise to the physical and mental challenges, the bulk of the expedition’s leadership and decision-making responsibilities transfer from the Instructor to the crew. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both individually and together.
What you’ll learn: By allowing yourself to focus beyond daily responsibilities and obligations, you’ll master more difficult skills and open yourself up to new directions and opportunities you never thought possible. You’ll find clarity in the life changes you’re facing, you’ll uncover inspiration in the wilderness, and you’ll renew your sense of adventure to take on the next challenge in front of you.
Return home with newly expanded wilderness abilities, an energized outlook, a rekindled allowance of empathy into situations and relationships and an eye toward the future.
Students will learn the necessary skills for wilderness travel: safety, appropriate packing and wilderness hygiene, cooking backcountry meals and group hiking, tarp sleeping systems, navigation and Leave No Trace principles to name a few. Students will be physically and emotionally challenged as they work as a team to accomplish goals and put learned skills to practice. The course will begin the moment students arrive at our Outward Bound base and continue through the expedition on the trails. Students will acquire technical skills and long-lasting life skills.
One portion of the expedition includes the opportunity to develop rock climbing experience guided by Outward Bound Instructors. Students will learn skills to tie knots and be exposed to climbing fundamentals. They will learn safety, climbing, and belay techniques and have opportunities to use climbing equipment. Students do not need prior climbing or backpacking experience for this course. Outward Bound Instructors are climbing specialists and will teach students the skills necessary to be successful in this incredible adventure.
Students will learn technical paddling skills, river dynamics, navigation and rescue techniques as they explore the Delaware River Water Gap National Recreation Area and its rapids, islands and wildlife. The crew will practice learned skills and develop technique as they navigate the river and its pools, eddies and swift currents. As a crew they’ll work as a team to maneuver down the river, supporting one another and using the skills of backcountry living on the river.
Students will engage in Solo, a period of solitude, where they can rest and reflect in a designated solo spot near the campsite. Instructors will set the tone and help students prepare for this unique opportunity to reflect on their current experience and personal growth as well as the application of their experience to their learning and social environments. While on Solo, students have food, drinking water, appropriate clothes, a tarp for shelter, sleeping bag, journal, as well as a whistle with which they may alert their Instructors in the unlikely event of an emergency. Instructors also conduct periodic check-ins with each student. In many ways, Solo is what makes an Outward Bound wilderness expedition so unique.
During this multi-element leadership intensive course, students will use the course area to develop and hone leadership and community-building skills. Students will demonstrate proficiency in technical backpacking and canoeing skills and demonstrate the self-awareness and emotional intelligence needed to become a compassionate leader who builds relationships and strong bonds with their crew. As they work together as a team, students develop trust, apply newly acquired personal and group skills, and recognize and demonstrate sound principles for being a successful and efficient crew.
The Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area encompasses 67,000 acres of mountain ridge, forest and floodplain on both sides of the Delaware River in the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. From the southern end of the park, you can view the S-shaped chasm of the Delaware Water Gap, where the river cuts a twisting path through 1,400-foot Kittatinny Ridge. Within the river watershed, you'll discover steep wooded-and-rock slopes, bountiful rhododendron, dark hallows, tinsel-like ravines and tumbling waterfalls.
These regions are the ancestral lands of the Lənape Haki-nk (Lenni-Lenape) and Munsee Lenape nations.
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.
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.