Wilderness Education Programs


Classic Expeditions: 

Middle School, High School & Adult

Classic extended wilderness expeditions take students into pristine wilderness environments and help individuals discover strengths they didn’t know they had. An essential confidence-building experience, Classic courses are available year-round at locations across the country and for students of all ages. Courses range from four-day programs to several weeks-long expeditions. The average program lasts for 15 days, with challenging activities include backpacking, canyoneering, canoeing, dog sledding, mountaineering, whitewater rafting, rock climbing, sailing, sea kayaking, skiing and snowboarding. Whether travel is on foot, by raft, kayak or canoe or under sail, participants emerge to find out that they can do more than they thought they could. 

Pathfinder Expeditions

Pathfinder is a 30-day Outward Bound expedition that focuses on increasing self-knowledge, clarifying values, strengthening decision-making skills and processes, and setting goals – all life skills to help any student chart a path toward independence with confidence and passion. Our Pathfinder curriculum was developed by a team of experienced Outward Bound Instructors to meet the needs of today’s 18-25 year olds seeking skills to forge a successful life path. The tried and true educational model of Outward Bound combined with the innovative Pathfinder curriculum and dedicated, skilled Instructors, mean students walk away with the clarity and competence needed to reach their goals. 

Semester Expeditions

Outward Bound semester courses are the ideal alternative for college-age students looking for something beyond the traditional classroom environment and for those who want to learn by doing. No other Outward Bound experience is as in-depth, absorbing or comprehensive as our wilderness semester courses. Semester courses span the globe - across domestic and international locales including Colorado, Utah, California, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, Florida, Washington, Oregon, Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Brazil, Patagonia and Guatemala. These 30-day to 85-day courses are unique opportunities to gain real wilderness skills and develop skills in decision making, problem solving, leadership and teamwork. With activities as varied as the world we inhabit, students raft, sail, rock climb, dog sled, kayak, hike and push forward with a team as they form bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime.

Outdoor Educator Expeditions

Outdoor Educator expeditions provide participants with the skills they will need to successfully and safely lead a group of students in a wilderness setting. Every phase of the expedition is focused on learning about wilderness education through direct experience and reflection. As participants strive to become a high-functioning group able to communicate effectively, make decisions and take on challenges, they also analyze teamwork and learn how to facilitate and foster it. Experienced Outward Bound Instructors conduct seminars and discussions about how to teach skills and manage a wilderness experience to achieve specific goals. In preparation to lead their own courses, participants earn their Wilderness First Responder certification and practice risk management, in a variety of settings and situations, throughout the expedition.

Intercept Expeditions

Intercept Expeditions are specifically designed for families with teens struggling at home or in school. This highly structured and facilitated program removes students from the pressures and influences of home and school, and instead presents them with the healthy risks and real challenges of the natural world. Intercept courses focus on communication, conflict resolution and decision making tools. Students learn to examine the decisions that they have been making in their lives, and practice new ways of setting goals and connecting decisions with consequences. A carefully designed curriculum prepares students to reunite with their families, reengage in their home lives in a meaningful way, and transfer their successes at Outward Bound to the challenges they will face in the future. The expedition culminates with a facilitated conversation between the students and their families, during which students share key takeaways and collaborate with their families to make a plan for the future.

Veterans Expeditions

Outward Bound is proud to offer fully funded 5-7 day wilderness courses to veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Fully funded by generous donors, Outward Bound for Veterans helps thousands of returning service members and military veterans readjust to life at home through the healing power of the wilderness. Veterans expeditions help to reinforce the gratification, confidence and self-worth that comes with working within a group, and build the skills necessary to successfully return to life after wartime service.

Professional Expeditions

Outward Bound Professional programs often combine indoor and outdoor activities and can be held at conference centers, urban parks, rural basecamps or wilderness settings. Itineraries can be as short as a day or continue on a regular schedule over several months. The goal is to create positive, lasting change in the workplace through innovative programs that enhance the effectiveness of individuals, groups and organizations.


Additional Programs

Grieving Teens Expeditions

Intended to provide respectful healing experiences in a wilderness environment, Outward Bound Grieving Teens courses implement personal growth methodologies and a simple support model that honors the griever. The grief work that is purposefully woven into every aspect of the curriculum is not intended to provide therapy, but rather to facilitate an environment where young people can connect, build relationships and share in a relevant healing experience with real-world outcomes. Participants begin to build an inclusive, supportive “crew” on day one as they join in a nightly discussion circle, acknowledge their shared losses and begin the healing process. As they tackle problem-solving challenges and engage in high impact activities such as rock climbing or ropes courses, students experience moments of self-discovery and also reinforce their new community of support – their grieving crewmates. Thanks to our donors, all participants receive reduced tuition.

Classic Family Expeditions

On Classic Family expeditions, the main goal is to provide families (in parent/guardian and child pairs) with the opportunity to experience an Outward Bound expedition together as a unit. Family participants learn by doing. As the group works together to accomplish common, challenging goals, they learn about the natural and human history of the land, they acquire valuable outdoor and safety skills, and also learn much about themselves. Throughout the expedition, Instructors facilitate discussions about family dynamics, family values, traditions and priorities, and strategies to bring Outward Bound values and design principles into the home. Classic Family expeditions are also about fun. This is a unique opportunity – and a designated time and space – for families to enjoy each other and the wilderness around them.

Group Expeditions

Outward Bound provides courses to meet the specific team building and leadership goals of high school and college groups, as well as special groups like cancer survivors or families of 9/11 victims. Group Programs range from a single day ropes course to multi-week wilderness expeditions.

Educator Expeditions

On Educator expeditions, the main goal is to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the Outward Bound expeditionary learning approach and to help them identify meaningful ways to integrate the approach into their own classrooms or teaching roles. Educator participants experience firsthand how expedition-style travel gives rise to leadership lessons, hard skill development, teamwork skills, conflict resolution, and much more. During every phase of the expedition, Educators reflect on what they have learned personally, but they also discuss as a group how these insights might relate to educational programs. Perhaps most valuable of all, Instructors serve as knowledgeable sounding boards and credible experts as they model actual expeditionary learning practices throughout the journey.



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