As someone who's completed a North Carolina Outward Bound School expedition, you can count yourself among a special group of people who have pushed themselves far beyond what they ever thought possible. We hope the experiences you had while on your journey were valuable to you and will last a life time. Below are the stories shared from your fellow Outward Bounders. Make sure you add your own!
Michael on Outward Bound the summer after high school, 1980's
Group Shot, 1971
Sea Kayaking Course in the Outer Banks, 2004, Rebecca
First Course for Women at NCOBS, 1971
NC-51 Crew, Pat Peterson, 1973
Brad on Solo at Sitting Bear, 1971
Three Week Course, 1972
I was just 16 and had led a very sheltered life when I came to North Carolina for an experience that changed me in so many ways. Now I am 60 and I still tell people about the lessons I learned during that short time so many years ago. It's even on my resume! Were there times when I was wet and miserable, in pain, hungry and unhappy? Sure. But, I managed those and still do, thanks to my experience in NCOBS. I learned about teamwork, empathy, how to put others first, how to wing it if you don't have what you need, how to understand others who are very different from you and how to speak up. I learned how important duct tape is. I learned more about caring for people who struggle and about how crucial it is to listen. I am so grateful for the memories and the lessons learned. Thank you!
This is the crew I co-led with Mary Williams. I'm in the front row, far right. Mary is in the back row, far left. We made a great team. This was my final course experience, September of 1976, and I finally had an adult crew. Except one outlier student who was 18, I was the youngest in the group at 21. This picture was taken at the finish line of a 15 mile marathon we had all ran on our final day. A memory I have from this adult group is that they took just as long as their teenage counterparts to launch out on their hanging rappel from Hawksbill. The difference was that instead of trying to talk their way out of the challenge (typical of many of my teen students), these guys spent their nervous energy talking themselves into the leap! "I need to do this! I need to do this!" I carry indelible memories and a lot of pride through my life from those formative summers of leadership, camaraderie, exertion, and personal growth.
Multi-element Course, 1987
During my freshman year in college I decided to do this 10 - 14 day Outward Bound course instead of a traditional spring break. I still recall hiking 18 miles a day, spending three nights in a cave, running every morning, learning to rock climb and also completing a service project by helping some people who lived near the caves. Our instructors in the attached picture were the man in the blue long raincoat and the blond lady in the turquoise coat leaning back as I held her (I'm the one in the black and red shirt). I learned a lot during those 10 days. It was great!
Rev. Gary E. Heaton
Standard Course 1981
I signed up for a Standard Course at NCOBS in preparation for leading a ropes and initiatives program for my United Methodist Church Camp in the summer of 1981. Outdoor ministry had drawn me into a desire to learn more about adventure programming and to develop both the technical and interpersonal skills to lead others. My experience at Table Rock pushed me to grow in my compassion toward others. I was one of the youngest members in my adult crew and the physical demands of the course were easy for me, but proved difficult for some of the other members. One rainy night in the middle of a rhododendron push, I was confronted with my willingness to leave some of the members of my crew behind because they could not keep up. I experienced an epiphany about unity and connectedness that has stayed with me through 35 years of leading congregations in pastoral ministry. Through the years I have encouraged and mentored many people into lives of service and ministry always reminding them of the lesson I learned that dark, rainy night on the side of a mountain when I was not alone. Thanks NCOBS !
Women's Intensive, 1988
Our crew shared the risks and adventures expected, but we were to endure more: the subsequent murder of one of our crewmates. We gathered at my home for her funeral and celebration of her life. Two years later I was diagnosed with an incurable and chronic disease, Progressive MS. I had raised my children almost single-handedly, as my then husband had MS. That marriage ended and off I went with two teenaged children. They are happy in their own lives, I have remarried and now run a garden designed for the physically challenged, free of charge. Getting around on a golf cart for my outside chores, earning a certification as a Master Gardener, organizing a group of volunteers has taught me that sheer determination can and will earn one the privilege of experiencing life's challenges with a good heart, a willingness to accept what comes our way - all without yielding - thanks to NCOBS.
Remember Tomias Bolen, an instructor from 1976? Before we rappelled off of Hawks Bill and the clouds rolled in and we could not see below our knees so all 14 of could not move. The sun came up coloring the clouds so it was beautiful and surreal as if we were standing on the clouds. It made for a great day. I wish we had a photo of this event cause it was magic. I do not recall anyone having a camera or even moving. Actually most of us were speechless except for the occasional don't move or wow.... Halcyon times for sure... A great adventure!
Blue Ridge Backpacking, Climbing and Whitewater Canoeing Alumna, 1998
I found something that I wrote about my experience in high school!
"Outward Bound war the BEST thing I have ever done! It changed the way I saw myself, the way I looked at life, it helped me grow. I became a better person and it gave me the strength I needed! It made me see how special life really was. It gave me ideas for my future! It showed me that I could do just about anything as long as I give it my all!"
Add Your Story
We want to hear about your Outward Bound experience, because every story of adventure and discovery is worth sharing!
North Carolina Outward Bound School is a registered 501(c)(3). Contributions are therefore tax-deductible to the full extent provided by the law. Financial information about North Carolina Outward Bound School is available from the NC State Solicitation Licensing Branch at (919) 733-4150.