About UsAbout Us


Delivering outdoor education experiences for nearly 50 years. 

"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. 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.  

Our Mission

Changing lives through challenge and discovery. 

Our Principles

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

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.
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. 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.

Program Basecamps

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

Upcoming events


NCOBS Is On the Road!

This October North Carolina Outward Bound School representatives, Cait Coffey and Lindsay Hunter, will be visiting these select locations and events. If you would like to schedule a time to meet with them please contact us at info@ncobs.org or (828)239-2107. We are also always eager to meet with potential students and alumni so come on by and say 'hello'. Hope to see you soon!

What: Everybody's Environment: Voices for Community & Conservation 
When: 0/9/14 – 10/10/14 
Where: Arthur Edington Center Green Opportunities 
133 Livingston Street Asheville NC 

What: 6th Annual Blue Ridge Pride Festival
When: 10/4/2014
Where: Asheville, NC

What: Festival in the Field
When: 10/11/2014
Where: Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/14/14, 10-12:30am
Where: George Mason University

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/15/2014, 9-11:00am
Where: Germanna CC-Fredericksburg

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/15/2014, 12-2:00pm
Where: Germanna CC-Locust Grove

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/15/2014, 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Spotsylvania Towne CentreWhat: 2014 Novant 

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/16/2014, 9-11am
Where: King William HS

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/16/2014, 1-3pm
Where: Northumberland HS

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/16/14, 5-7pm
Where: Gloucester HS

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/21/2014, 10:30-12:30am
Where: NOVA CC-Woodbridge

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/21/2014, 7-8:30pm
Where: TC Williams HS

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/22/2014, 10:30-12:30am
Where: NOVA-CC Annandale

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/22/2014, 2-3:00pm
Where: Episcopal HS

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/22/2014, 6-8:00pm
Where: Woodbridge HS

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/23/2014, 10:30-12:30pm
Where: NOVA CC-Alexandria

What: VACRAO Event
When: 10/23/2014, 7-8:30pm
Where Washington-Lee HS (Arlington)

What: Health Thunder Road Marathon Health & Wellness Expo
When: 11/13/14 – 11/14/14
Where: Charlotte Convention Center 

What: Nashville Pride
When: 11/15/14
Where: Belmont United Methodist Community Center: Hillsboro West End Nashville, TN 37212

Latest News

NCOBS Beyond the Woods - Unity Program

November 14, 2014

read more

NCOBS Recognized Nationally

November 12, 2014

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

read more

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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A Note From Our Executive Director

November 20, 2014


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Wilderness Trip Helps Vance High Athletes Become Better Leaders

June 27, 2014

read more

Staff Highlight: Corey Winstead

June 12, 2014

Chief Climbing Instructor

read more

NCOBS Partners with the Warrior Institute Once Again

March 24, 2014

for a unique program for four veterans and their partners.

read more

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.

read more

The 2013 NCOBS Annual Report is here!

December 9, 2013

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The Founding of Table Rock

February 20, 2014

read more

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.

read more

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."

read more

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.

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 Course

April 9, 2013

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

read more

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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