“Outward Bound changed my life” is something we commonly hear from our program alumni. When we asked, “why enroll in an Outward Bound course?” 50% of respondents indicated developing confidence is the most important reason for participation. Developing character skills like self-management, confidence and discipline – along with leadership skills such as goal-setting, decision-making, problem-solving and collaboration – are the attributes and skills they seek.
While on course, participants discover that perseverance leads to success. Students learn through the results of good and bad choices, and they gain self-awareness by overcoming challenges. This builds resilience. At the same time our “students,” young and old alike, learn to be effective team members, to communicate effectively, to work toward common goals and build relationships with peers and adults. Ultimately, participants learn they can choose to live life differently, and they begin to make different choices that impact the trajectory of their life beyond course.
After course participants return to their lives and discover they are more willing to take appropriate risks, they are positive leaders in their families, schools and communities, and by reflecting about the lessons from their course, they navigate challenges after course with more confidence and positive outcomes. Participants discover that they are making different choices and take their life in a healthy direction.
Long-term participants discover as they look back on their VOBS course that the trajectory of their life changed. They find they have better handled life’s challenges and adversities, and made better choices because of what they learned at Outward Bound. Ultimately, by discovering their strength of character, an ability to lead and their determination to serve their community, they help create a more resilient and compassionate world.