Learn backcountry expedition techniques, leadership skills and navigation as you move through the diverse ecosystems, high mountain ridges and waterfall-laden streams of the Dolly Sods Wilderness. Then head to the Potomac River, where you’ll work with a partner to learn the art of paddling, read a map and compass and navigate a variety of river features. After 12 exhilarating days, return home with a renewed belief in your abilities, an adventure story of a lifetime and bolstered teamwork and leadership skills. Wild, wonderful West Virginia invites students to explore the remote regions of “The Mountain State.” West Virginia is approximately 75% forestland and contains 2,029 miles of named trails.
This course is closed for the season. 2020 courses coming soon.
Helping students and their families see positive development in character skills is a key component of Outward Bound courses. Each student will complete a 19-question self-assessment designed by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to measure growth in four specific socio-emotional skills: conflict management, emotional self-efficacy, grit/resilience and problem solving. After completing the course, students will receive a Report Card that illustrates the improvement in these areas, as well as a written narrative from the Instructor that highlights additional takeaways for the student.
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 must work as a crew to navigate the river, while transporting all their gear from one campsite to the next each day. Instructors will provide instruction on paddling technique, reading the river and other technical canoe skills as they progress through this section of the course.
Students learn how to hike effectively and efficiently as well as how to set up and manage trail campsites each night. As the team overcomes numerous expedition challenges, they develop a greater belief in themselves and trust in one another. Successful completion of this course requires more than the mastery of technical skills. It also requires adaptability, decision making and teamwork.
Service to others and to the environment are core values of Outward Bound and they are integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as part of their service to the environment. Students develop an ingrained appreciation of service, seeing the impact of their actions firsthand, by multiple small acts of service with and for their crewmates while leading and supporting each other throughout the journey.
In order for profound learning to take place, there must be time to reflect on the experience. Solo is that opportunity, and that time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It is a chance to experience solitude in the wilderness without distraction while also taking a break from the physical rigors of activities. Students experience short periods of time away from their group throughout the course for reflection. These “mini-solos” are at solo sites chosen by Instructors to provide as much solitude as possible (within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Participants have all necessary equipment, food and water during their Solo time, and safety is always the top priority.
Dolly Sods Wilderness
The 17,371 acre Dolly Sods Wilderness in the Monongahela National Forest is part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. It is located in the Grant, Randolph and Tucker Counties of West Virginia. The Dolly Sods Wilderness contains much of the Red Creek drainage and contains bog and heath eco-types, more commonly typical to southern Canada. Elevations range from 2,500 feet to over 4,700 feet.
The Potomac River is located along the mid-Atlantic Ocean coast of the United States and flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The river (main stem and North Branch) is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km²). In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the United States and the 21st largest in the country. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed.
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