Outward Bound expeditionary learning can occur nearly anywhere, with almost anyone.
The positive outcomes our students experience – whether they are middle and high school age, college age or adults – manifest in the form of increased self-confidence, awareness and respect for the interdependence of individuals and a desire to make a positive difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Strangers become life-long friends. Small accomplishments on a course become life-long habits. Through shared challenges, adversity, failure and success, students discover and develop new skills, confidence and passion.
The idea that “you are needed,” no matter who you are, is a critical ingredient to the success of Outward Bound programs. And it is this element of inclusiveness and reliance on teamwork that sets an Outward Bound expedition apart from any other learning experience; expedition members are “crew, not passengers.”
Outward Bound doesn’t only encourage students to contribute to the group; we require it. After all, on an Outward Bound expedition, awareness and respect of others is not optional – it is necessary for success.
Effective experiential programs are intentionally designed.
To ensure the integrity of our Outward Bound programs, we use our the Outward Bound Educational Framework and Kurt Hahn’s model of graduated levels of responsibility on every course.
In 2015, VOBS started designing every course to specifically meet students at their starting point by integrating an age progression in every course. This ensures our courses are designed with special consideration of human development.
Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab
Launched in July 2017 with the generous support of The S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation, the Outward Bound Professional Learning Lab (‘The Lab’) was formed to continuously improve the student experience by evaluating program delivery and student outcomes and enhancing professional learning opportunities for staff.
The Lab is not a physical location but rather a community of intellect, research and practice made up of Practice Leaders from each of the 11 Outward Bound regional Schools, five core OBUSA staff, and visiting scholars and experts including the Noam Institute (research partner), the Lawrence Hall of Science/BEETLES (curriculum design partner), The PEAR Institute: Partnerships in Education and Resilience, and Youth Outside (Equity, Inclusion and Diversity partner).