Outward Bound USA

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Outward Bound USA (OBUSA) is a non-profit organization providing experiential education in the United States through a network of regional schools, especially in wilderness settings. Outward Bound counts among its desired outcomes the development of self-awareness, self-confidence, leadership skills, environmental and social responsibility.[1]


Like other Outward Bound International member organizations, Outward Bound USA's course offerings are derived from the work of German educator Kurt Hahn and his Outward Bound schools co-founded with Lawrence Holt in the United Kingdom in 1941.[2][3]

The first course in the United States was run in 1961 for the Peace Corps, which it helped to shape.[4][5]

Outward Bound schools[edit]

  • Baltimore Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School
  • Colorado Outward Bound School
  • Hurricane Island Outward Bound School
  • North Carolina Outward Bound School
  • Northwest Outward Bound School
  • Outward Bound California
  • Philadelphia Outward Bound School
  • Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center
  • Voyageur Outward Bound School
  • New York City Outward Bound Schools
  • Omaha Outward Bound

Outward Bound courses[edit]

OBUSA offers a range of courses targeted at different ages and interests.[6] Students are required to work together to complete outdoor education activities including rock climbing, backpacking, navigation, canoeing, and sailing.

  • classic: expeditions in the wilderness, usually lasting 15 days, separated by age groups (middle school, high school, and adult)
  • classic family: expeditions for family groups
  • semester: lasting 30 to 85 days, these expeditions are intended for students of college age
  • outdoor educator: for training and certification of wilderness education instructors
  • intercept: for teens having difficulties at home or in school and their families
  • veterans: offered at no cost to returned service members, lasting five to seven days
  • professional: of varying length, these combine outdoor and indoor education for organizations, companies, and non-profits
  • grieving teens: places young people who have experienced loss in a wilderness setting with others who have had similar experiences
  • group: customized courses for high school and college groups, or groups such as cancer survivors
  • educator: provide teachers with ways to integrate the Outward Bound approach into their work with students

EL Education and Outward Bound[edit]

A non-profit comprehensive school reform organization which is no longer a part of Outward Bound USA, works with over 129 urban and rural schools across the United States including Puerto Rico.[7]

Diversity training[edit]

In the United States, Outward Bound schools have employed "diversity trainings" for their staff in order to prepare instructors to address the various issues that may arise on course due to a diverse group of participants. Diversity trainings are intended to provide the arena where staff can be challenged in the same ways participants are challenged to step out of their comfort zone. Outward Bound programs continue to focus on enriching the lives of students from all walks of life, and strive to empower their staff in awareness of issues that arise in groups.[8]

TV series[edit]

A television series aired on Discovery Kids from 1999-2003. In each location, the show followed a group of eight young adults as they learned to work together and help each other survive in the wilderness. Under the guidance of instructors from the Outward Bound school, the group members struggled to cope with nature and each other, with success and failure, with physical and mental challenges, and finally bonded together from the experience.


  1. ^ "Outcomes of Outward Bound". Outward Bound. Outward Bound USA. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  2. ^ "History". Outward Bound International. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  3. ^ William Sloane Coffin, in Outward Bound USA: Crew not Passengers (Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, 2002), p.10
  4. ^ Outward Bound International (2004). Birth of Outward Bound Archived 2007-11-10 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved December 9, 2007.
  5. ^ "Outward Bound 2015 Program Guide". Issuu. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  6. ^ "Outward Bound". Outward Bound. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  7. ^ "EL Education". eleducation.org. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  8. ^ Warner, Robert P. (2018). "Understanding Outward Bound Instructors' Inclusive Praxis: Practices and Influential Factors". Retrieved 2018-10-13. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)

External links[edit]