We look forward to having you join us at the Voyageur Outward Bound School basecamp soon! If you have questions about the WFR enrollment process, submitting forms, or anything else, please contact Greta at the VOBS Admissions office: (218)-491-6787, email@example.com.
Homeplace, Voyageur Outward Bound School Basecamp, Minnesota
Homeplace is located at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota. Situated where the Kawishiwi River meets Birch Lake in the Superior National Forest, the Voyageur Outward Bound School basecamp provides an ideal location for launching/ending BWCAW paddling and dogsledding trips, and practicing white water paddling skills. The surrounding boreal forest also makes Homeplace a great location for spotting moose, wolves, beavers, deer, woodpeckers, eagles and black bear.
Minnesota’s weather can be unpredictable with a wide range of temperatures. Spring is a great time to experience northern Minnesota. It is cool and crisp and the forest is filled with peace and quiet. Spring brings melting ice and dramatic change across the watery landscape. The weather can be unpredictable, ranging from bright sunshine, warm rain or sometimes snow. Average temperatures are cool, but can range from 30-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Evenings can be chilly, but it’s typically sunny and very comfortable during the day. While you may experience the occasional thunderstorm or rain shower, most days are clear and comfortable.
Wilderness First Responder Course – The ideal medical training for leaders in remote areas including outdoor educators, guides, military, professional search and rescue teams, researchers, and those involved in disaster relief. The curriculum is comprehensive and practical. It includes the essential principles and skills required to assess and manage medical problems in isolated and extreme environments for days and weeks if necessary. Skills and information covered in the course include:
Mornings are generally devoted to lectures and exams with afternoons devoted to practical hands-on sessions and rescue simulations. Expect many rescue simulations with made-up victims and stage blood that will be videotaped for enhanced learning. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Successful completion of this course involves full participation in the field simulations and written exams. Students will receive a WFR certification card upon completion of the course.
Day 0: We encourage participants to arrive the evening before the course-start to figure out housing, the washhouse, and food instead of dealing with it in the rush of the first morning. Plan to arrive by about 8:00 PM, as the basecamp grounds are not lit.
Day 1: Continental breakfast available. Be in the main building, finished with breakfast, and ready to hand in forms and final payments by 7:45 am. The class will start after these final details are wrapped-up and we've made a few general announcements/introductions.
Days 1-8: WFR class from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM each day. Continental breakfast available each morning. Lunch and dinner provided at noon and 6:00 PM each day. Actual start/end times may vary depending on WFR instructor preferences.
Day 8: Finish the WFR class and depart. Plan to stay until the evening, although the final exams are often finished earlier.
Daily flow: Participants help themselves to breakfast before the course start time each morning. Lunch is served at noon. About a half-hour of clean-up chores follows lunch each day, and then it’s back to class until about 5pm or so. Dinner is served at 6:00 PM and evening chores are done at 6:30 PM. There may be evening activities or study groups. The WMA instructors set the course schedule and topics and any variations or absences must be discussed with them at your first convenience.
These are intense courses and 100% attendance throughout is required. The schedule is set by WMA instructor discretion and most days will be full, possibly continuing into the evening. The WMA instructors will outline the course schedule during the first day. There is no advance preparation needed for the WFR. WFR Recert participants will need to download the required texts and complete a pre-course workbook. The required texts are released about 30 days prior to the course.
Bunkhouse accommodations, indoor restrooms, and shower facilities are available. Bring your own sleeping bag, pillow, and hygiene items. Continental breakfast is available and lunch and dinner are prepared for you. Maintenance of the VOBS community space, chores, and meal clean-up are completed by everyone using the facilities. Please expect to take part in these activities along with the other community members. Do inform us of any special requests beyond what’s on your medical form, such as mobility restrictions, medication refrigeration, or dietary concerns.
Those coming from Ely are invited to stay at the basecamp and housing will be assigned for you. There are often evening study groups and optional practice sessions and we plan to have all participants at dinner anyway.
After registering for the WFR course you will receive an invoice and a passcode to access the required paperwork (or get a head-start by accessing the paperwork below). In order to continue holding your spot on the course you must complete and return the required paperwork and make your full payment by the posted due-dates. Your payment, minus a non-refundable $100 processing fee, is refundable if you cancel at least 2-weeks before the course-start. Refunds are not available for cancellations less than 2-weeks before the course-start.
After you've completed your paperwork, please email or fax it to: firstname.lastname@example.org or (F) 866-908-4303
Please also pre-read the WMA Student Participation Standards and Functional Position Description documents on the WMA website (or below) in preparation for the course. You must enroll and get your passcode in order to access these documents through the WMA website.
If you haven't yet registered for the course, you can do so here.
This packing list is only meant to guide you. These are suggestions/guidelines only. In general, bring a variety of clothing layers that allow you to accommodate unpredictable and changing weather and activity levels. Clothes will likely get dirty.
Head & Hands
Toiletries & Other Personal Items
You are responsible for getting yourself to/from the Voyageur Outward Bound School basecamp on the first and last days of your course.
Voyageur Outward Bound School
1007 Spruce Road
Ely, MN 55731
Google map directions
The course begins early in the morning on the first day. You are welcome to arrive the night before the course starts if this is more convenient for you. Dinner will be available for folks arriving early.
If you are a VOBS staff and are planning to arrive earlier than 1 night before the course begins or stay overnight after the course ends, you must approve this early-arrival or late-departure with the staffing director, Abby Dare.
Plenty of parking is available at the basecamp. Follow signs to the main office building where you'll be asked to sign-in at an un-staffed welcome table. At this table you'll also find your housing assignment and a map of the campus. Feel free to park near your housing assignment while you unload but then move your car to the long-term parking lot.
If you need a ride to VOBS or would be willing to offer a ride to someone, please email Greta Blessing. We will connect this group via email about 2-weeks before the course begins so you can coordinate your arrival and departure logistics together.
Cell phone reception at the basecamp can be spotty. If your family/friends need to reach you and are not able to connect via cell phone, they can call the Outward Bound WFR coordinator, Jennie, at: 218-491-6788. She will relay any messages and/or help you connect via landline.
If you need to receive mail while you're here the address is:
(your name), C/O VOBS WFR
PO Box 450
Ely, MN 55731
FedEx and UPS:
(your name), C/O VOBS WFR
1007 Spruce Rd
Ely, MN 55731
Dietary restrictions or other needs: We can accommodate a variety of dietary restrictions, allergies, and other needs. Please note these needs on your enrollment paperwork before returning it. If you neglected to include this information in your enrollment paperwork and/or need to update your information, please contact Greta at the VOBS Admissions office: 218-491-6787 or email@example.com
Tick-borne disease is a risk in the wild areas of northern Minnesota, where VOBS runs the majority of their courses. Fortunately, there are prevention steps that are very effective and, in the case of infection, treatment is relatively simple and recovery complete, so long as the diagnosis is made early. Students and their families should educate themselves on the risks, prevention measures, and signs and symptoms of tick-borne diseases by reading this letter from our Safety Director and the information provided below.
In 2014, the Lyme disease incident rate in Minnesota was .16 per 1,000 people.* Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease, but is not the only risk. Some of the other common tick-borne diseases reported in Minnesota include Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan (POW) virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia and Anaplasmosis. There are treatments available for these diseases, but prevention is by far the best and first step!
DO NOT treat base layers (long underwear tops and bottoms for example).
Signs and Symptoms
There are many symptoms associated with tick-borne diseases. Infected people may not have all of these symptoms and many of these symptoms can occur with other diseases as well. Some common symptoms of infection with tick-borne diseases include body/muscle aches, fever, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, rash, stiff neck and facial paralysis. Seek medical attention if signs and symptoms of a tick borne illness appear. Tick-borne diseases are diagnosed based on symptoms and the possibility that the person has been exposed to infected ticks. Most cases can be successfully treated with specific types of antibiotics.
*Lyme Disease Incidence Rates by State 2005- 2014, http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/chartstables/incidencebystate.html