During “Training,” it’s all new. Students work closely with instructors to acquire new skills, identify personal strengths and form a supportive group culture. Who am I? Who are you? Who are we? What can we do? These are the questions that arise as a team develops. Through the use of discussion, journaling, innovative initiatives and wilderness travel, the group explores what it takes to build a supportive community and resilient team.
Throughout the Main Phase of the course, brigade members work to apply new skills and gradually take on more responsibility to meet group travel goals. Through hard-won success and failure, students expand their comfort zone, own their strengths and grow the confidence to take on new challenges for themselves, and their brigade.
The PCE is a College Expedition highlight. The PCE is a personal “challenge by choice” adventure. Whether climbing 80 feet above the largest lake in the world or tackling the highest component of the Ropes Course, students activate courage, test individual limits and discover potential.
Solitude provides a necessary counterpoint to the rigors of wilderness group travel. With sufficient food and equipment, students spend time alone at an assigned campsite to rest, reflect and practice camp craft skills. Guided writing exercises provide structure for reflection and help students prepare for academic and life challenges post course.
An appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. Outward Bound purposefully and gradually transfers leadership responsibilities to students. During Final Phase, students assume the daily responsibilities of wilderness travel, planning and executing nearly all aspects of the Expedition without instructor support, serving others above themselves. This Phase culminates in a “Final Expedition.” Near course end, if the group has demonstrated necessary leadership skills, they will travel independently through the wilderness.
As the College Expedition comes to a close, with the help of instructors and a wealth of shared experience, students begin to set goals and prepare for the transference of new skills to campus, career and life. Expedition end is a time for introspection, transition and celebration!