"After serving meals to a food scarce community at Glide Memorial Church, we did a gift initiative in Chinatown. That’s where everyone gets $3 to purchase a gift for someone in the group. We pulled names out of hat right before we went into the shops. Afterwards we took the ferry to Angel Island and walked to the top of Mount Livermore. With the backdrop of a beautiful sunset where the entire sky was pink and an amazing 360 view of the San Francisco bay and skyline – we gave our gifts. All of them were so thoughtful. It was amazing.
That moment felt like this microcosm of course - going into the wilderness, bringing something back to the everyday. Literally we were on this mountain looking towards the skyline; taking and giving these tokens from people in the group which were saturated in meaning."
– Holly Lehr on one of her favorite moments instructing the Yosemite, Joshua Tree & San Francisco Outdoor Educator course
You’ll ascend peaks up to 12,000 feet in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, including time spent in Yosemite National Park, rock climb the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park, and have an urban expedition in the San Francisco.
Expect to deep dive into leadership, technical wilderness travel and interpersonal skills. Semester courses are demanding physically and socially, perfect for motivated participants looking to embrace the challenges of outdoor education.
|XMQL-981||9.10.19 - 11.13.19||65||18 and up||$10,400||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.
Are you motivated by the never-ending discovery in the adventure of the outdoors? Are you passionate about sharing knowledge and helping future generations become comfortable and confident appreciators of the natural world and skilled wilderness wanderers? Working as an outdoor educator requires deep technical expertise in outdoor skills alongside hands-on training in the science behind experiential learning and how to create lasting impact for students. Outward Bound leads the outdoor education industry in both areas, providing a coveted foundation to jump-start an outdoor-involved career.
The Outdoor Educator course is the most comprehensive Outward Bound course available, allowing you to work in and through the widest variety of wilderness environments and develop high level skills in each. Beyond preparing you for career opportunities in the outdoor industry, you may also earn academic credit in the field of Recreation and Outdoor Education.
The first phase of this course is spent both on and off trail in Yosemite National Park and Ansel Adams Wilderness learning the skills necessary to travel in wilderness terrain. Here we will lay the foundation for group travel, gear selection and use, map and compass navigation, cooking and camp stove use, weather/hazard assessment, camp craft, communication skills, and effective teamwork.
In addition to technical skills, Instructors will teach and facilitate the interpersonal skills needed for participants to function effectively as a team, accomplish goals, and tackle new challenges every day. Challenges on course are designed to impel participants to take risks, draw upon inner resources and develop trust in one another. One such challenge might include a peak attempt. With lighter packs, participants will start before the sun rises to summit a mountain and be rewarded with 360 degree views and an incredible sense of accomplishment.
During the mountaineering section, participants will build on the backpacking skills learned previously in course. In addition to teaching more technical skills, the Instructors will focus on honing the group's judgment and decision-making skills. The crew will have the chance to attempt a technical peak during this section. Mountaineering is distinct from backpacking in that at least one peak attempt will take a steep, exposed route that requires the technical protection of ropes. Additional skills to be covered during this phase are the use of fixed-lines and snow travel, depending on season and temperatures.
With the first phase of the expedition behind them, participants will learn the skills necessary to provide first aid in a backcountry setting. These skills give individuals and the group the confidence to address health and wellbeing issues more independently for the remainder of the course.
A Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise for backcountry first aid and is a required course (costing up to $850 if taken privately) for leading outdoor trips. Each student must earn this certification independently. At the end of the course, the WFR instructor, not Outward Bound, will make the decision as to whether each student’s skills are sufficient for certification.
The following topics will be covered during the course: patient assessment, basic knowledge of body systems, basic life support, equipment improvisation, environmental medicine, toxins, trauma management, evacuation and wilderness rescue.
After the WFR course, the group will move to the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. The section of the course in Joshua Tree will focus specifically on skills associated with technical rock climbing, including knots, anchors, movement over rock, top rope, belaying, use and care of harnesses and other equipment. An emphasis on climbing site assessment and management will ensure participants go back with sound judgement to implement safe and challenging experiences for youth they instruct. Participants will have ample opportunity to actively improve their personal skills with various types of climbs including bouldering, face climbs, cracks, and possibly a multi-pitch climb.
Following the climbing section, the group will test all acquired skills on their Final Expedition—a multi-day backpacking section in Joshua Tree. During this expedition, the crew works together to plan their route, gear, food, and logistics, essential skills for any aspiring outdoor educator to effectively navigate through the unique and beautiful rock and yucca filled landscape of Joshua Tree. This section requires competence in communication, teamwork, navigation, and decision making skills.
Far removed from starry nights and alpine lakes, San Francisco is a bustling city of streetlights and people. This city exposes participants to the juxtaposition of wealth and poverty—back alleys and striking bay views, sprinkled with tourist destinations that attract travelers from across the globe. Continuing ‘expedition style’, participants will carry their gear and travel like locals, taking the bus, walking and ferrying to their nightly abode. With the city as their classroom, participants will focus on developing their cultural competency and ability to work with diverse populations through discussions and service learning opportunities. As an educator this can be just as challenging as climbing high in the mountains, and equally necessary as participants prepare for the practicum and future work in the field of outdoor education.
Instructor courses are geared towards participants who are looking to pursue a career in education and/or the outdoors. Throughout the entire expedition, Instructors will not only be teaching the ‘what’, but also the ‘why’ and ‘how’ necessary to pass on these skills to future participants. There will be many opportunities for participants to practice their own facilitation skills and receive feedback.
The culminating experience at the end of course will be a practicum, where participants will facilitate a 2-day experience for local youth in an outdoor setting. The practicum will have a strong emphasis on designing and implementing curriculum, teaching basic outdoor skills, and facilitating initiatives and discussions with a group of participants from diverse backgrounds and experience levels. Participants will gain first hand teaching experience as they begin to build cultural competency as experiential educators.
The culminating experience at the end of course will be a practicum, where participants will facilitate a 2-day experience for local youth in an outdoor setting. The practicum will have a strong emphasis on designing and implementing curriculum, teaching basic outdoor skills and facilitating initiatives and discussions with a group of participants from diverse backgrounds and experience levels. Participants will gain first-hand teaching experience as they begin to build cultural competency as experiential educators.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Designated service projects are coordinated with land managers like the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service to collaborate on land restoration projects. Additionally, students may have the opportunity to work alongside select social service agencies like nursing homes, hospitals and organic farms. With a broader context for needs-based career opportunities, participants develop a value of service, seeing the impact of their actions first hand, and cultivate this desire to serve their communities once they return.
On every Outward Bound course reflection is an integral part of the learning process. During the solo phase of course, participants will find reprieve from the rigors of daily travel and spend a structured period of rest and reflection near the group’s base camp. The primary focus of this time is to reflect on personal and group goals. Depending on the student age and the length of the expedition, this experience can range in length from a few hours to three days. Participants are provided with food, shelter and occasional check-ins from Instructors during the experience.
Participants can expect a longer solo, up to 72 hours. The solo and reflective time in outdoor educator courses will be focused on contemplation around experiential education methodology and their individual strengths as educators.
Our courses vary in length from 4 to 85 days. On shorter courses, participants will receive an intro to leadership skills, strength of character and a desire to serve. With longer courses, the same outcomes and benefits are achieved with the ability to reach a more profound level of mastery as there are more opportunities develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback and further personal development.
Yosemite National Park and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range are famous for breathtaking views of waterfalls, massive granite domes, and peaceful alpine meadows. Yosemite is home to some of the world’s most treasured landmarks. Places like El Capitan, Half Dome and Glacier Point can be seen on the horizon along with dramatic alpine scenery—peaks rising from the valley to elevations above 12,000 feet. With fairly stable and beautiful weather, as summer advances, temperatures tend to become more moderate, in the 70s to 80s during the day and 30s to 50s in the evening.
Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its high desert moonscape, where rugged mountains and desert plateaus were sculpted by wind and rain. Three distinct ecosystems come together to form this land of extremes: the dark, cold, star-filled nights against warm sand and boulder-filled days. Weather in the park is generally dry and rainfall is sparse, though unpredictable, irregular, and sometimes persistent thunderstorms do occur. Temperatures can vary, averaging 50-80 degrees during the day to a cool 30 at night and potentially hitting 100 early or late in the season.
The urban portion of the course will take participants on a tour of San Francisco landmarks like Chinatown, Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, the Mission District, Baker Beach, and Market Street. Participants will camp in local parks and with unique partner agencies across the city. San Francisco offers rich histories, diverse cultural traditions and foods, and an abundance of initiative opportunities. Though a dramatic change from the mountains and desert, participants will find inspiration and new perspectives in this bustling, beautiful city.
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.