About UsAbout Us


"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, Founder of Outward Bound

For nearly 50 years, North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) has been delivering challenging outdoor adventure programs 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. 

The distinction - training through rather than for - is at the essence of the Outward Bound dynamic. The sea, mountains and desert provide training that no institute or university can offer. These landscapes, in tandem with Outward Bound principles, teach the hard, technical skills necessary for survival, but also teach the relevant skills necessary for life.

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.

North Carolina Outward Bound School is a non-profit organization and is proud to be part of an national network of Outward Bound schools in the US and all over the world.

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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 Nautical Flag

Outward Bound is an international educational movement dedicated to the idea that people are capable of far 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, grit, self-reliance and confidence 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. 

"I regard it as the foremost task of education to insure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in the pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denail, and above all, compassion." -Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound

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 high achieving youth, adults, troubled teens, school groups, educators, business professionals and veterans, that are both physically challenging and powerfully inspiring. From four to 72 days long, our wilderness programs 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. 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 Areas

Upcoming events


Outward Bound Veterans Day Celebration

When: Nov. 11, 2015, 5:30-7:30pm

Where: Catawba Brewing Company - South Slope - 32 Banks, Asheville, NC

What: Join us for a special Veterans Day event, Wednesday, November 11th, from 5:30-7:30 pm at Catawba Brewing Company in Asheville. Come have some appetizers on us and the first 25 people to register will receive 1 drink token. Register at: https://events.helpusbuild.org/events/156 and click on the purchase ticket button, so we can prepare for a successful event. 


Latest News

Veterans Find Peace, Camaraderie In the Wild

November 10, 2015

Asheville Citizen Times

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NCOBS Leader Receives National Award

October 6, 2015

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Staff Highlight: Jemar Raheem

October 12, 2015

Atalanta Community Program Coordinator

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Alumni Profile: 'Outward Bound Saved My Life'

October 6, 2015

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Outward Bound and Inward Reflection

October 2, 2015

Intercept student describes their life-changing journey with NCOBS

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Outward Bound Students Volunteer at Local Garden

August 25, 2015

Teen volunteers from Outward Bound and the Rotarian Youth Leadership have been helping out at Rice Street Community Garden this summer.

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50 Days That Changed My Life

August 14, 2015

I was lost. I was no longer a child but I felt awkward in my new found adult-self. I felt uncertain of what my next steps in life should be and wanted some clarity.

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Podcast: Team Development Thru Outward Bound

August 14, 2015

Learn about team development from a group of educators who participated in an 8-day North Carolina Outward Bound course.

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Outward Bound with Highland School

August 3, 2015

This trip was an opportunity to discover and use skills as leaders and effective team members.

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Leaders of Change for the Next Generation

July 17, 2015

Empowering the youth of today so that they can be the leaders of tomorrow. Read about a NC Outward Bound program that is bringing together diverse youth through wilderness programs and Unity Clubs in Charlotte.

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Summer Trail Tales Newsletter

May 18, 2015

This special edition newsletter is about NCOBS' two programs for struggling or at-risk young people.

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NCOBS Voted One of Non Profit Times Best Places to Work

April 20, 2015

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Staff Highlight: Anne Hersman

May 14, 2015

Interview with an 'at-risk' program staff member.

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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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Staff Highlight: Lark Gardner

November 14, 2014

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Wilderness Trip Helps Vance High Athletes Become Better Leaders

June 27, 2014

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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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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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The Founding of Table Rock

February 20, 2014

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The 2013 NCOBS Annual Report is here!

December 9, 2013

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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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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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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. 

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 - Morganton, NC

Gordon Caudle - Durham, NC

Sonji Jacobs Dade - Atlanta, GA

Richard J. Daileader - Charlotte, NC

Rufus M. Dalton - Charlotte, NC

Matthew J. Gould - Atlanta, GA

James A. Gray, III - Durham, NC

David P. Hardy - Philadelphia, PA

Thomas James - New York, NY

Darian Jones - Atlanta, GA

Kenneth E. Lawson - Tallahassee, FL

Henry D. McHenry, Jr. - Charlottesville, VA

Andy Mink - Chapel Hill, NC

Marty O'Keefe - Asheville, NC

Scott Puritz - Chevy Chase, MD

L. Kent Satterfield - Travelers Rest, SC

Richard K. Schell - Charlotte, NC

Robert M. Schwartzberg - Washington, DC

Ben Smeal - New York, NY

Michéle Taylor - Atlanta, GA

Mitchell Wickham - Charlotte, NC

Patricia Woodson - Key Bicayne, FL


Life Directors

Arthur M. Blank 

Marjorie Bryan Buckley

Scott Perper

Marjorie H. Whittaker "Mag" 


Honorary Directors

John C. Huie 

Dan Meyer



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. 



Call 1 (888) 756-2627

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