Cell phone reception at the base camp 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, Megan, at  218-491-6790.  She will relay any messages and/or help you connect via a 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 Megan at the VOBS Admissions office:  218-491-6790 or

Prevention of Tick-Borne Diseases

Tick-borne disease is a risk in the areas 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 the information provided below.


Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease, but is not the only risk. Some of the other common tick-borne diseases reported 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!

*Lyme Disease Incidence Rates by State 2010- 2019


  1. Staff will teach students to recognize ticks and remove them as soon as they are found. This is the BEST form of disease prevention. Removing ticks within 24 hours considerably reduces the risk of being infected with a disease-causing bacterium.
  2. When traveling or camping in areas with woods, bushes, high grass, or leaf litter, staff and students will check themselves for ticks at least once every day.
  3. Wear and use protective clothing/equipment (long pants tucked into socks, for instance). Light colors make it easier to see ticks.
  4. Use a chemical barrier. Some Outdoor clothing comes pre-treated with Permethrin, such as BugBeWearInsect ShieldL.L. Bean’s No Fly Zone, and ExOfficio’s BugsAway. You can also treat any clothing and footwear (long-sleeve shirts, jackets, hats, gaiters, and boots) with Permethrin to repel and disable ticks. Two methods for treating your own clothing are to send clothing away to Insect Shield or to treat it yourself at home with a spray-on Permethrin solution available from Sawyer or Repel. This treatment will last up to a month. Follow instructions on the bottle for how to apply permethrin to clothing items. Clothing must be treated prior to traveling to course start. DO NOT treat base layers (long underwear tops and bottoms for example), or any item that will cover your face (buffs, masks, etc).
  5. Use a chemical repellent. Apply insect repellent containing about 30% DEET to exposed skin, according to the directions on the container. This lasts for a few hours before you have to reapply it.

You should include this with your child if it is on the course packing list. Insect repellent containing DEET will also be supplied on all courses where there is a significant chance of vector-borne illness transmission.

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. 

Additional information

There are other vectors in addition to ticks that inhabit the areas VOBS travels in, mainly mosquitos. Some vectors may be capable of transmitting West Nile Virus, LaCrosse Encephalitis, Jamestown Canyon Virus, Lyme’s disease, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, Powassan Virus, Tularemia, and Swimmer’s Itch.

‚Äč‚ÄčAdditional information on vectors, vector-borne diseases, and their prevention can be found on the  CDC WHO Minnesota Wisconsin, and Texas state department of health websites.