Delivering outdoor education experiences for nearly 50 years.
Move beyond your perceived limitations with one of the oldest independent Outward Bound schools in the country and the leader in experiential and outdoor education. Since 1967, North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) has delivered challenging wilderness adventures that teach more than just outdoor skills. Upholding the same ideals and goals as the first Outward Bound school established in the 1940s in Britain, every NCOBS course is built around a progression that delivers powerful life lessons by encouraging participants to safely and confidently, step outside their comfort zones and travel in spectacular wilderness areas.
Changing lives through challenge and discovery.
The following principles are integral to our heritage and how we design our programs. The first four are called the Four Pillars.Physical Fitness - Building the physical and emotional stamina to meet challenges.Craftsmanship - Modeling 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.Courage - Taking risks to achieve goals and stand up for universal well-being.Leadership - Utilizing collaborative relationships to initiate collective action.Environmental Stewardship - Preserving our natural world for posterity.
Outward Bound is an international educational movement dedicated to the idea that people are capable of far more than they know. Originally designed for young sailors during World War II, the program fostered leadership qualities needed to head out on the high seas- when ships were "Outward Bound." Now, all around the world, Outward Bound schools prepare people to take on challenges and achieve more than they ever 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
Kurt Hahn, Outward Bound’s founder, was adamant that human potential should be harnessed for the well-being of all people. As a Jewish educator living in Nazi Germany, he had witnessed the horror of human power unchecked by compassion and moral courage. Hahn pioneered educational programs that inspired young people to embrace their common humanity, engage in service and become active citizens. By living in a group in a wilderness setting and facing authentic challenges, participants realize what they are truly capable of and develop compassionate, courageous leadership skills needed for actively engaging in their lives back home.
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. Our course areas are the North Carolina Mountains, North Carolina Outer Banks, Florida Everglades National Park, the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge and Patagonia in South America.
Click to review Frequently Asked Questions about North Carolina Outward Bound School.
Our School delivers programs in some premier outdoor recreation areas in the United States and South America. We currently offer programs in:
- North Carolina Mountains
- North Carolina Outer Banks
- Everglades in Southern Florida
- Patagonia, South America
Click here if you'd like to read about the geographic regions in which we operate.
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Read the Spring Trail Tales NewsletterFebruary 28, 2014
Learn about NCOBS' history, our year in review, hear from one of our instructors and find out about featured courses.read more
The 2013 NCOBS Annual Report is here!December 9, 2013read more
The Founding of Table RockFebruary 20, 2014read more
NCOBS partners with Owen High School teachers and studentsOctober 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.read more
Peer Leadership Day Teaches Important Transition Skills to Incoming FreshmanAugust 26, 2013read more
Serving Those Who Have ServedAugust 29, 2013read more
Nature is the best medicineJune 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."read more
Summer Search PartnershipMay 2, 2013
For more than 20 years Outward Bound has partnered with Summer Search to get 2,000+ high school students outdoors.read more
Mt. Vernon Upper School Goes Outward Bound!April 19, 2013
Read about these students experiences.read more
Finishing Business School with an Outward Bound CourseApril 9, 2013
UNC Kenan-Flagler Leadership Immesion program finishes with an NCOBS course.read more
Collaboration with Warrior InstituteMarch 22, 2013
Read this write-up by the Warrior Institute about our recent collaboration with them to get four veterans and their spouses out for a six-day coastal canoeing trip in the 10,000 Islands. The crew not only learned about canoeing and life in the outdoors, but biofeedback training and the positive effect that mindfulness and breathing techniques can have on stress and anxiety.read more
Outward Bound study featured in the Los Angeles TimesJanuary 11, 2013
Study done by the University of Kansas and the University of Utah.read more
50 Years of Outward Bound!April 17, 2012
Featured in The Private Journey Magazineread more
"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, 2012read more
River Bound Race Series Recognized as "2011 Best Trail Race in NC!"December 15, 2011
Endurance Magazines Annual Best Of name NCOB's Race Series as "Best Trail Race in NC."read more
To contact us, visit www.ncobs.org/contact
To contact Student Services, click here.
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 and our certifications and requirements for hiring, please visit www.ncobs.org/careers.
North Carolina Outward Bound School Board of Directors
Deb Follo Caughron, Board Chair - Bat Cave, NC
Susan R. Buckley, Vice Chair - Wayne, PA
Gordon Caudle, Vice Chair - Durham, NC
J. Kenton Richards, Board Treasurer - Atlanta, GA
Michéle Taylor - Board Secretary - Atlanta, GA
Aram Attarian - Raleigh, NC
Heather Baldino - Marietta, GA
Amos Beason - Charlotte, NC
Bob Cox - Tallahassee, FL
Rufus M. Dalton - Charlotte, NC
Henry W. "Hank" Flint - Charlotte, NC
Matthew J. Gould - Atlanta, GA
David P. Hardy - Philadelphia, PA
Stephen C. Hassenfelt - Greensboro, NC
Thomas James - New York, NY
Darian Jones - Atlanta, GA
Melissa Kienbaum - Charlotte, NC
William States Lee, IV - Charlotte, NC
Edward G. Lilly, III - Hendersonville, NC
Rick Michaels - Davidson, NC
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
David R. Sibilsky - Atlanta, GA
Ben Smeal - New York, NY
Steve Solnick - Asheville, NC
Jeff Yost - Atlanta, GA
Arthur M. Blank - Atlanta, GA
Marjorie B. Buckley - Bethlehem, PA
Linwood S. "Inky" Inscoe, Jr. - Morganton, NC
Dan Meyer - Green Valley, AZ
Marjorie H. "Mag" Whittaker - Ooltewah, TN
North Carolina Outward Bound School Staff Wiki
North Carolina Outward Bound Staff Wiki (for staff only)
Log in to view announcements, download forms, and access course planning and organizational resources.
Land Use Agencies
North Carolina Outward Bound 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.