What is the application process like and how long does it take?
The Outward Bound application process is extensive in order to best ensure that students are appropriate and prepared for their Outward Bound experience. In order to reserve a spot, either through the website or over the phone, applicants are required to complete a short Health History Questionnaire and pay a $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course. This deposit includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee. After this, a Voyageur Outward Bound School Course Advisor will contact the applicant and provide additional documents, including a more extensive application to be completed within a specified time-frame, typically two weeks. The applicant may also be required to return supplementary documents completed by their doctor, therapist or other reference. Upon receipt of the completed application, a Course Advisor will call/email to schedule a phone interview if s/he has any questions (both parent/guardian and student interviews are mandatory for Struggling Teen and Young Adult expedition applicants). The whole process typically takes 2-3 weeks but can take longer if all pieces of the application are not returned in a timely manner.
Is it possible that I won’t get accepted for my Outward Bound course?
Not all applicants are accepted to the Voyageur Outward Bound School. Outward Bound courses are designed to serve a wide variety of students at different points in their lives. However, the Voyageur Outward Bound School does expect that each applicant puts time and thought into their decision to attend Outward Bound. It is a unique program, unlike typical summer camps, and not everyone is prepared for the challenges that a true wilderness expedition presents. At a minimum, Outward Bound applicants must be willing and able to fully participate without risk to their physical or emotional safety, and committed to their own personal development.
Can I participate on an Outward Bound course with my friend or family member?
In general, Outward Bound discourages friends and family from participating on the same course, unless the course is specifically designed for families. Outward Bound’s goal is to ensure a quality experience for each participant, and we have discovered that people in established relationships, however positive, have expectations and mental images of one other. An Outward Bound course is an opportunity to leave behind any preconceived ideas about oneself and discover new strengths and talents. An environment free of expectations is an important part of this process. When students attend with someone they know, they risk forfeiting much of the value of an Outward Bound experience. In addition, pre-existing relationships sometimes negatively impact group interactions. We therefore encourage friends and family members to enroll on separate courses so each student can experience the full measure of an Outward Bound experience.
Can Outward Bound accommodate my food allergy?
Yes, the Voyageur Outward Bound School can accommodate most food allergies. We put a lot of energy into creating menu plans that work for people with a variety of food allergies or preferences, including people who do not eat meat, dairy, gluten, tree nuts and peanuts. We’re even able to accommodate students with severe peanut allergies. In some cases we may ask students to provide some of their own food supplements.
Does Voyageur Outward Bound School provide scholarships and/or payment plans?
Yes. For more information, check out our Scholarships page.
What does tuition cover?
The tuition you pay prior to going on course covers all of your food while on course, instructors' salaries, land use permits and most of the equipment (backpacks, sleeping bags, cooking utensils) and other technical gear associated with the activities you will participate in at Voyageur Outward Bound School.
Students will need to provide their own clothing, footwear and some gear, such as a headlamp, and will be responsible for the costs of any physician's exam (if required) and travel to and from the course meeting site. A clothing and gear list will be provided to each student upon enrollment. You can always call us if you have questions about the clothing and gear requirements.
How do I get to and from my Outward Bound course?
Once enrolled, a Course Advisor will provide a Travel Information document that will help students schedule their arrival and departure.
MN Courses: In most cases, but not all, Voyageur Outward Bound School students meet in the Duluth International Airport baggage claim at 1:00 PM on the first day of the course. Students typically return to the Duluth International Airport around 11:30 AM on the last day of the course and should plan to fly out any time after 1:00 PM to account for check-in and security clearance.
TX Courses: In most cases, but not all, Voyageur Outward Bound School students arrive in El Paso, TX the day before their course officially begins. Students spend the night in a local hotel (not included in the course cost) as directed by their Course Advisor. Students typically return to the El Paso International Airport around 1:00 PM on the last day of the course and should plan to fly out any time after 2:00 PM to account for check-in and security clearance.
Explicit travel directions will be shared with you after you enroll on a course. Students should refrain from making travel plans prior to being approved for their course and receiving travel details for their specific course as the exact details may differ slightly from the directions listed above.
When can I buy my plane ticket?
We recommend that you delay purchasing nonrefundable airline tickets until you have been approved for participation and the course is confirmed a "go." Occasionally, we cancel courses due to permit changes, low enrollment or other issues.
When you have been approved for the course and you know it is a "go," make sure you pay close attention to the start and end times and location of your course start/end before booking your tickets, to avoid any mistakes with your reservation.