It starts in the early teens and carries into the early twenties. The challenges faced by young people start to shift, and just as they begin to understand the world around them, life gets complicated. The wilderness expedition setting of Outward Bound provides a unique environment where young adults can explore that challenge and experiment with independence explicitly. A Pathfinder expedition goes further, adding experiences, discussions and self-exploration, helping young adults to not only complete their journey to independence but also build a vision for their future and the confidence to make it happen.
What is Pathfinder?
Pathfinder is a 30-day Outward Bound expedition that focuses on increasing self-knowledge, clarifying values, strengthening decision-making skills and processes and setting goals – all life skills to help any student chart a path toward independence with confidence and passion. Our Pathfinder curriculum was developed by a team of experienced Outward Bound Instructors to meet the needs of today’s 18-25-year-olds seeking skills to forge a successful life path. The tried and true educational model of Outward Bound combined with the innovative Pathfinder curriculum and dedicated, skilled Instructors mean students walk away with the clarity and competence needed to reach their goals.
Is Pathfinder Right For Me?
Pathfinder expeditions are ideal for those who are in transition, taking a gap year, or searching for the right focus for their next phase in life. Pathfinder students are motivated to take on a unique and challenging adventure to better understand their strengths and interests, to begin to discover a sense of purpose to guide them, and to build the skills and confidence needed to thrive. Participants are typically recent high school graduates, college students, or young adults seeking personal, educational or professional direction.
A year and a half out of college I went into Voyageur Outward Bound's Pathfinder program feeling lost and anxious. I was excited for a break from the stressors of home and while I was optimistic about enjoying the experience, I vastly underestimated the life change I was about to experience. The Pathfinder curriculum is powerful because it offers practical life tools and then allows you to practice those skills in a wilderness setting where your survival depends on your ability to use those skills effectively alongside your fellow travelers. It is both the safest and the riskiest place to work on becoming your best self, because the consequences and the support are both very real.
Besides the excellent content of the course, Big Bend itself is a spectacular course area with an incredible amount of variation. I never expected to love the desert, but now I can't get it out of my head. I will never forget what I saw and the way it felt.
Pathfinder led me to further involvement with VOBS and put me on the path to becoming an instructor, but whether outdoor education is your interest or not - Pathfinder courses offer powerful tools to re-imagine your life and redefine what you're capable of. I wanted to believe that everyone was capable of leadership, but I did not fully believe this about myself until this course.
~ Yoshie Kateada - Pathfinder Texas Big Bend Canoeing & Backpacking
Canoeing the Rio Grande is an opportunity to experience some of the highest quality life imaginable. On an epic journey with a small crew of people you are faced with the intimacy and honesty that is created by close quarters and hard work, and on the river you are able to balance that intensity with pure exhilaration. Whitewater teaches you to be confident, present and to let go of a sense of control. It is easy to fall in love with the desert and the outdoors when you are able to do all of that alongside bands of wild horses through the incredibly beautiful, twisting, 1500 foot tall canyons that the Rio Grande offers.