About UsAbout Us


"You can expect to be doing rather than watching; acting rather than talking. You can expect to try without worry of failing for we demand only that you try. You tell us how well you did." - Dan Meyer, School Director 1971-76'


Move beyond your perceived limitations with the leader in experiential and outdoor education. 

For nearly 50 years, North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) has been delivering challenging outdoor adventures for people of all ages and walks of life. Every Outward Bound course is built around a progression that delivers powerful life lessons by encouraging participants to safely and confidently step outside their comfort zones while traveling in spectacular wilderness areas. We primarily choose to use the wilderness as our classroom where our objective is to train students through the wilderness, not for the wilderness. 

Through these experiences, participants learn important skills for life, such as leadership, communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork. A large part of Outward Bound focuses on group dynamics  and development, however it can be a very personal experience as well. By conquering their own challenges, participants discover their true potential and realize they are capable of more than they ever imagined.

NCOBS is a non-profit organization and is part of an international network of Outward Bound schools. Since its founding in 1941, Outward Bound has been helping participants discover or develop their strength of character, ability to lead and desire to serve. Each year Outward Bound serves a quarter of a million individuals internationally through its diverse programs.  

Our Mission

Change lives through challenge and discovery. 

Our Principles

The following core principles are integral to our heritage and how we design our programs. 

Physical Fitness: Building the physical and emotional stamina to meet challenges.
CraftsmanshipModeling quality and intention in one’s actions.
Self-Reliance: Being resourceful, recognizing and applying personal strengths.
Compassion: Selflessly engaging in the welfare and dignity of others.
Diversity: Embracing people’s differences as sources of learning and growth.
Safety: Managing risk for physical and emotional safety in everything we do.
Service: - Acting selflessly to meet the needs of others and our environment.
Leadership: - Utilizing collaborative relationships to initiate collective action.
Environmental Stewardship: Preserving our natural world for posterity.

Our History

Outward Bound is an international educational movement dedicated to the idea that people are capable of far more than they know. Kurt Hahn, a German-born educator, founded Outward Bound in 1941 to help British sailors develop important qualities needed to head out on the high seas - when ships were 'outward bound.' Things like, endurance, conviction and conficence were essential in surviving wartime stress during World War II. When the war ended, the programs were deemed a success and Outward Bound was opened to the public. Now, all around the world, Outward Bound schools prepare people to take on challenges and achieve more than they thought possible. 

"There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less." -Kurt Hahn

Why North Carolina Outward Bound School?

Methodology: Outward Bound is for anyone and everyone.

A North Carolina Outward Bound School course is the beginning of a life-long journey. We offer courses for a broad range of groups, including individuals (teens and adults), school groups, educators, business professionals and veterans, that are both physically challenging and powerfully inspiring. From four to 72 days long, our wilderness expeditions take place in some of the premier outdoor education areas of the country, with activity options of mountaineering, backpacking, whitewater canoeing, rock climbing, coastal canoeing and sea kayaking. Participants going on an Outward Bound course will develop skills in leadership, wilderness travel, environmental stewardship, character development and compassion for others. 

To be “outward bound” literally means to leave the shelter of the harbor for the open sea; figuratively it means leaving comfort zones, putting fears aside and discovering new possibilities. Whatever your reason for choosing North Carolina Outward Bound School, every bend in the trail, eddy in the river and rock ledge of a mountain peak, are opportunities for personal growth. No experience is necessary, just the willingness to dig deep, embrace the moment and take the challenge. 

Click to review Frequently Asked Questions about North Carolina Outward Bound School.

Program Basecamps

Our School delivers programs in some premier outdoor recreation areas in the United States and South America. We currently offer programs in:

Upcoming events


NCOBS Kicks-off New Bike Ride in Asheville

Who: North Carolina Outward Bound School

What: The Collier Lilly Ride for NC Outward Bound School

When: Sunday, May 24, 9am

Where: Mountain Sports Festival, Carrier Park Mellodome, Asheville, NC

Why: The Collier Lilly Ride for NC Outward Bound School is a ride to raise funds for scholarships for WNC youth to attend NCOBS courses in memory of Collier Lilly

Cost: Long Ride: $45- until April 30, $55 after May 1st, $65 Day of.  Short ride: $35 until April 30, $45 after May 1st, $55 Day of

*We are still taking on sponsors and would love more volunteers. If you are interested, please email Carrie Myers: cmyers@ncobs.org

Click here to find out more or register.


Latest News

Florida Family Gets Help-And a New Look On Life

March 13, 2015

NCOBS programs for struggling youth and their families make a difference.

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NCOBS Wilderness Programs Helps Military Veterans Readjust to Life Back Home

February 26, 2015

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Top Ten Reasons to Take a Gap Year

February 9, 2015

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NCOBS Beyond the Woods - Unity Program

November 14, 2014

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NCOBS Recognized Nationally

November 12, 2014

NCOBS named one of OUTSIDE Magazine's Best Places to Work in 2014!

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No Matter Where We Go, There You Are

November 14, 2014

-The Admissions Team

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Staff Highlight: Lark Gardner

November 14, 2014

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The Summer Trail Tales Newsletter is here!

July 28, 2014

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Wilderness Trip Helps Vance High Athletes Become Better Leaders

June 27, 2014

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Staff Highlight: Corey Winstead

June 12, 2014

Chief Climbing Instructor

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NCOBS Partners with the Warrior Institute Once Again

March 24, 2014

for a unique program for four veterans and their partners.

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Read the Spring Trail Tales Newsletter

February 28, 2014

Learn about NCOBS' history, our year in review, hear from one of our instructors and find out about featured courses.

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The 2013 NCOBS Annual Report is here!

December 9, 2013

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The Founding of Table Rock

February 20, 2014

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NCOBS partners with Owen High School teachers and students

October 2, 2013

Read about one of our unique programs where we partner with Owen High School to help students and teachers bring experiential learning experiences into the school's culture.

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Peer Leadership Day Teaches Important Transition Skills to Incoming Freshman

August 26, 2013

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Serving Those Who Have Served

August 29, 2013

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Nature is the best medicine

June 6, 2013

Ryan was defiant, angry and dabbling in risky behaviors. His parents enrolled him in an Intercept course and now his parents say, he "gets it."

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Summer Search Partnership

May 2, 2013

For more than 20 years Outward Bound has partnered with Summer Search to get 2,000+ high school students outdoors.

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Mt. Vernon Upper School Goes Outward Bound!

April 19, 2013

Read about these students experiences.

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Finishing Business School with an Outward Bound Course

April 9, 2013

UNC Kenan-Flagler Leadership Immesion program finishes with an NCOBS course.

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50 Years of Outward Bound!

April 17, 2012

Featured in The Private Journey Magazine

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"Try Outward Bound and Change Your Life"

February 8, 2012

North Carolina Outward Bound's Charlotte Office celebrates 15 years. By Caroline McMillan, Charlotte Observer Feb. 8, 2012

read more

Our Instructors

As a leader in wilderness-based experiential education, our wilderness instructors are accomplished outdoor educators, with extensive experience and training in technical and facilitation skills. Our community and administrative staff are passionate about our mission and are focused on supporting the mission of the school in the communities we serve. We value and seek a diverse range of people who are sincerely interested in the growth and development of others on a personal, group and larger societal level.  If you'd like to learn more about who we hire please visit our instructor profile page. If you wold like to learn more about what certifications and requirements are needed to be hired, please visit www.ncobs.org/careers.

Board of Directors 


Rick Michaels, Board Chair - Davidson, NC

Amos Beason, Vice Chair - Charlotte, NC

Susan R. Buckley, Vice Chair - Wayne, PA

J. Kenton Richards, Board Treasurer - Atlanta, GA

William States Lee, IV, Board Secretary - Charlotte, NC


Aram Attarian - Raleigh, NC

Gordon Caudle, Vice Chair - Durham, NC

Bob Cox - Tallahassee, FL

Rufus M. Dalton - Charlotte, NC

Matthew J. Gould - Atlanta, GA

David P. Hardy - Philadelphia, PA

Thomas James - New York, NY

Darian Jones - Atlanta, GA

Henry D. McHenry, Jr. - Charlottesville, VA

Andy Mink - Chapel Hill, NC & Orange, VA

Marty O'Keefe - Asheville, NC

Scott B. Perper - Charlotte, NC

Scott Puritz - Chevy Chase, MD

L. Kent Satterfield - Travelers Rest, SC

Richard K. Schell - Charlotte, NC

Robert M. Schwartzber - Washington, DC

Ben Smeal - New York, NY

Michéle Taylor - Board Secretary - Atlanta, GA

Mitchell Wickham - Charlotte, NC


Life Directors

Marjorie Bryan Buckley

Arthur M. Blank 

Marjorie H. Whittaker "Mag" 


Honorary Directors

Dan Meyer

John C. Huie 


Land Use Agencies 

North Carolina Outward Bound School operates under permits from the following Forest Services, Fish and Wildlife Services and National Park Services:

Big Cypress National Preserve, FL

Blue Ridge Parkway, NC

Cape Lookout National Seashore, NC

Cedar Island National Wildlife Refuge, NC

Chattahoochee National Forest, GA

Cherokee National Forest, TN


Everglades National Park, FL

Nantahala National Forest, NC

North Carolina State Parks

Ocala National Forest, FL

Pisgah National Forest, NC

Sumter National Forest, SC

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, FL

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, political beliefs, reprisal, or because all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call toll free (866) 632-9222 (voice). TDD users can contact USDA through local relay or the Federal relay at (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866 377-8642 (relay voice). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. 



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