About UsSchools and Groups


No education is complete without Outward Bound.

NCOBS partners with many different schools, colleges and groups to bring the wilderness and classroom together. We focus on the educational objectives and developmental needs of specific groups and can even design a unique program just for your group.

Partnering with North Carolina Outward Bound School guarantees you the expertise of the largest, oldest, most respected provider of outdoor education and experiential learning in the world. No one else offers wilderness education with the same commitment to character,craftsmanship, leadership development and safety.

Group Education Programs start at four days, but longer courses can be designed to meet your needs. A minimum number of participants is required. Call us (866) 231-6262 or send us an e-mail, groups@ncobs.org to learn more about developing an Outward Bound course for your group.

"This trip was an opportunity to discover and use skills as leaders and effective team members. Each day, students selected specific roles outlined by our instructors, so they could practice being the group motivator, trail navigator, cook, or water guru. And beyond these specified roles students took on others as the trip and group dynamic demanded: mood lifter, pack mule, expert bear bag rope thrower, comforting encourager. Students are specifically asked to consider what lessons they will take away from the trip to apply to their student life and add value to the school community." Outward Bound with Highland School, Written by Megan Catalfamo is the Director of Experiential and Service Learning at Highland School. Read the rest of the article.

 Pictures from a 2013 school group course

Program Areas & Activities

Our school uses the wilderness as our classroom and wilderness activities as vehicles for learning. Our classrooms include, the

beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the winding waterways of the Ten Thousand Islands in Florida, the historic beaches of the Outer

Banks in North Carolina, the urban Atlanta, Ga rope course center and the mystic mountains of Patagonia in South America. Depending on the area, activities include, backpacking, rock climbing, rope courses, whitewater canoeing, coastal canoeing, sea kayaking, mountaineering, map and compass use, service projects and leadership training. North Carolina Outward Bound School can also bring the classroom to you with our mobile initiatives. 

Learn more about our unique course areas


Outward Bound works with many different groups. Below we offer a partial list of our clients:

Schools, Groups and Colleges:

  • Asheville School - NC                        
  • Atlanta Public Schools - GA                 
  • Camp Coleman, GA
  • Cannon School - NC                                                
  • Cape Fear Academy - NC     
  • Chapel Hill Unity Schools: Carrboro High School, East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill High School, NC
  • Charlotte Latin School - Charlotte, NC    
  • Charlotte Unity Schools: Myers Park High School, Butler High School, Vance High School, Philip O. Berry Academy of Technology, NC
  • Creative Learning Academy - FL     
  • Donegal High School Experiential Education (DEEP) - PA    
  • Episcopal Academy - PA        
  • Episcopal Day School - GA   
  • Evergreen Community Charter School, NC
  • Exploris Middle School, NC
  • Greensboro College Middle College, NC
  • KIPP Charlotte, NC
  • Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, GA
  • NC Teaching Fellows Program, NC
  • Palmer Trinity School - FL   
  • Performance Learning Center, NC
  • Portor Gaud School - SC           
  • Ransom Everglades School - FL                                 
  • Savannah Country Day School - GA                                  
  • St. Mary's School - NC                            
  • Warren Wilson College, NC
  • William Jewell College, MI
  • UNC Chapel Hill, NC

Program Styles and Course Areas

Backpacking and Leadership Development in the Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

Our core Outward Bound experience is seven days in the North Carolina mountains, the birthplace of North Carolina Outward Bound School and a remarkable setting for a Group Education Program. Groups of up to 12 students explore Outward Bound's principles while living and traveling together through the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. They gain the skills to take on increasingly difficult challenges such as rock climbing, whitewater canoeing, camping under the stars, making their own meals and off-trail navigation. Time is spent in solo reflection and environmental service. Before departing, students determine how to transfer lessons learned to their lives back home and set personal goals.


Backpacking, rock climbing, rappelling, ropes course, whitewater canoeing, whitewater rafting, initiatives and workshops


  • Learn how to fit all of your gear into a 6,000 cubic-inch backpack.
  • Conduct an off-trail expedition into wilderness areas and national forests using a map and compass.
  • Study the local wildlife such as deer, falcons and raccoons.
  • Practice Leave No Trace minimum-impact outdoor techniques.
  • Learn proper climbing techniques by bouldering. Practice belaying techniques and learn to tie knots with craftsmanship.
  • Develop teamwork and communication skills.
  • Perfect paddling strokes  practice ferries, catching eddies and peeling out.
  • Explore the fundamentals of risk management on the river.
  •  Learn how to use a throw rope. Gain an understanding of how to read the river and classify rapids.




Environmental Education and Stewardship in the Ten Thousand Islands, FL

Florida's Ten Thousand Islands Nature Preserve and Everglades National Park offer a magical place within which to experience a North Carolina Outward Bound School Group Education Program - a place of glorious sunsets, abundant wildlife, remote wilderness and wide-open stretches of space. Expeditions travel by two person canoes, six person canoes or sea-kayaks. Some groups also hike or backpack through cypress strands and sawgrass sloughs.

In groups of ten, students paddle expedition style through mangrove tunnels, wilderness waterways and national preserves. Students strengthen self-confidence and develop leadership capabilities as they become more proficient in paddling, navigating and living together. The group explores environmental issues while sharing this remarkable ecosystem with dolphins, sea turtles and manatees. Students spend time in solo reflection on an isolated beach before embarking on a challenging final expedition back to dry land.


Coastal canoeing, sea kayaking, backpacking, service work, initiatives and workshops


  • Develop your paddling technique while expeditioning through rivers, bays and warm Gulf waters.
  • Monitor and forecast the weather. Learn to predict tidal changes and utilize your knowledge of ebbing, flooding, raging and slack tides.
  • Learn to survey your surroundings for important landmarks, shoot a bearing with your compass and work with your crewmates to use a chart and determine your location.
  • Improve teamwork, coorperation, problem-solving, self-discipline and communication skills.
  • Practice Leave No Trace minimum-impact outdoor techniques.
  • Practice your "wet exit" in warm, Gulf waters. Learn rescue techniques such as T-rescue, paddle float and Eskimo roll.
  • Discover more about the rich cultural history of the area as you learn about the Calusa, Seminole and Miccosukee Native American tribes and other settlers who bravely ventured into this "last American frontier."


November - May


International Travel and Service Learning in Patagonia, South America

Patagonia offers a truly spectacular environment within which to experience a North Carolina Outward Bound School Group Education Program. Expeditions take students through green temperate forests of Southern Chile/Argentina where native Patagonians live in and work or high into the Andes Mountains. Minimum number of days is 10 for a custom group course in Patagonia. Courses can include time doing service work with the local community.

In the varied terrain of the Cerro Tronador region, participants will hike alongside the blue-green waters of the Rio Blanco. Feed their eyes with endless stretches of sky, majestic snow-covered mountains, icy masses and shimmering lakes. Students may also meet local people and see ancient temperate rainforests as they explore routes through pristine river valleys. The group may also receive fresh supplies brought in on horseback by a "gaucho," a local horse rancher.

If service is part of the course, then the crew will work alongside locals during a service project such as building houses, digging potatoes and visiting local high schools. They will experience first hand the exchange that naturally happens when people from two cultures work alongside each other, even if they don't speak each other's language.


 Mountaineering, backpacking, rock climbing, service work, initiatives and workshops


  • Learn the basics of backcountry travel and food preparation.
  • Practice snow climbing, step kicking, ice-axe use and self-arrest.
  • Travel in a rope team. Practice team glacier travel and crevasse rescue. Learn about crampons. Set up snow anchors and exercise craftsmanship as you tie and apply knots.
  • Improve teamwork, coorperation, problem-solving, self-discipline and communication skills.
  • Practice Leave No Trace minimum-impact outdoor techniques.
  • Survey your surroundings for important landmarks. Shoot a bearing with your compass. Circle up around a chart to determine your location.
  • Discover more about the rich cultural history of the area.


December - May

Empowering communities of young people to initiate social change.

The Unity Project is a program that operates in Charlotte in partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. A group of 12 students from each Unity school is selected to represent the diversity of their community. They then embark on a wilderness expedition designed to assert their common humanity, to develop their courage and compassion as leaders, to establish a democratic forum within which to discussion challenging issues, and to create a model community within their crew. Upon returning home, the group forms a Unity Club to organize and implement projects addressing issues that affect their community.


  • Compassionate Leadership: Participants discover and develop their potential to care for themselves, others and the world around them.
  • Community Building: Participants construct a model community for themselves.
  • Diversity Awareness: Participants increase awareness of stereotyping and discrimination in their community and in their own actions and beliefs.
  • Moral Courage: Participants develop the courage to challenge and change actions or beliefs in order to create a more just and inclusive community.
  • Action for Social Change: Participants organize community projects that address issues of diversity and social justice.

Phase I: Recruitment and Preparation

 Students are recruited to represent the diversity of their school or youth group and the wider community. Preparation occurs by community-building within the group, introducing students to diversity issues, briefing students for their wilderness course and getting physically fit. 

Phase II: Wilderness Course

High school students undertake a seven-day wilderness course. During this time, students develop personal qualities they need to become community leaders and create a learning culture within which issues of diversity and social justice can be positively addressed. This community of 12 offers a model from which students can analyze their community back home and imagine a more inclusive and just future. 

  • Expedition Elements
  • Expedition travel (backpacking)
  • Camping
  • High impact activity (rock climbing, rappelling, ropes course, whitewater canoeing or rafting, night paddling)
  • Group initiatives and discussions
  • Solo reflection and journaling

Phase III: Community Projects

 Upon returning to their schools, Unity students organize and participate in community projects that apply their new skills and initiate meaningful social change.


A teacher, counselor or other school staff member acts as the school’s Unity Advisor. The Advisor’s role is to recruit students for the wilderness course and Unity Club, and support students through the design and execution of their projects. The Advisor is supported through all phases of the Unity Project by the NCOBS Unity Curriculum and the Charlotte Program Coordinator. We strongly recommend that every coordinator takes an NCOBS Educator’s Course. 

Outcomes study of North Carolina Outward Bound School programs

The impact of an Outward Bound Course is significant and measurable. In the summer of 2011, a local college studied NCOBS’ educational outcome measurement system. 

Overall, their findings indicated that longer courses yield better results and that participants grew in their understanding of:

  • who they are and their place in the world
  • their ability to persevere and overcome challenge
  • the understanding of the importance of strong work ethic

Their experiences highlighted their ability to set, achieve and in some cases, surpass their goals. 


Letter from Principal at a School with NCOBS Programs

To Whom it May Concern:

On behalf of the faculty and students at The New Schools at Carver, I would like to express great appreciation for the positive impact that the Outward Bound Atlanta (OBA) has made on our school. 

Seven years ago, I became principal of the School of Health Sciences and Research at The New Schools at Carver, and I was faced with very dismal statistics. Graduation rates were less than 30 percent absenteeism was very high, disciplinary referrals to the office were out of control and the over culture and climate at the school was a projection of failure. I was faced with the challenge and potential of guiding the school to turnaround status.

In four short year, we met the challenge and exceeded many expectations. Absenteeism was at an all-time low and disciplinary referrals were greatly reduced. But the most important change is that after four short years, the graduation rate now exceeds 85 percent. All of our success can be attributed to the changing culture and climate of the school. Students now believe and know that they can succeed. They are no longer afraid of challenges and have learned to appreciate the process and support one another. Certainly, much of the credit is given to the full-time faculty and staff at The New Schools of Carver, but the success would not have occurred so quickly without the support to community partners like Outward Bound Atlanta. 

OBA’s experiential and service-learning initiatives have impacted our entire student body. School life without OBS’s programs – like the in-school Lead Club and participation in the high ropes challenge course – would be unthinkable. We have sent 10 staff members to the Everglades kayaking experience for five days to enhance their leadership skills. 2-3 staff members every year take part in the North Carolina Outward Bound School Wilderness Experience and it is a requirement of every adult to participate in the high ropes course at eh the start of every school year. 

The organization is invaluable toe the total school experience. Thank you for your past support of the programs at The New Schools at Carver.


Darian C. Jones, Ph.D 

Principal at The New Schools at Carver


General Information

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Interest Details

From the Field

  • Climbing in the NC Mountains - Woodberry Forest School
  • Wildlife in the Everglades
  • Palmer Trinity
  • Savannah Country Day School canoeing in the Everglades
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.
  • Canoeing in the Everglades at sunrise
  • Sleeping in bug tents on the beach in Florida - Palmer-Trinity
  • Savannah Country Day - Group bonding time
  • Learning to navigate the mangroves in the Everglades in canoes is a challenge - Palmer-Trinity
  • Group Bonding in the NC Mountains - Woodberry Forest School
  • About to rappell - Woodberry Forest School
  • We made it to the top - Woodberry Forest School
  • Up early - Palmer-Trinity
  • Silly Faces
  • Initiatives - Savannah Country Day
  • Learning to cook on the beach - Savannah Country Day
  • Canoeing through the Everglades
  • Palmer-Trinity School canoeing course in the Everglades. Photo courtesy of Russ Taylor.

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“Thank you again for all your work during Crew 10’s OB trip. As a faculty member, I have to say I was impressed at how easy it was to let go and let you run the show. I always felt the students were safe, every situation was under control, and that each of you had my students’ best interest at heart. Despite the weather, the student had a blast and I have had nothing but positive feedback from students and parents. You both helped us accomplish our mission of community building and the promotion of self-reliance. ” —Jackson Collins, The Episcopal Academy; Newtown Square, PA
“[What I learned about myself while on course is that] I'm very quick to say "I'm not doing that" or "that's crazy" without seeing for myself or giving it a chance. Because of this I believe I have missed out on many things! I think one of my goals is to to pay attention to this in the future.” —Monique Hardin, UNC Chapel Hill Student Government
“[My course will impact me back at school by making me] more conscious of different elements when I make decisions. First, I will be much more intentional about getting feedback from others. I've learned that silence doesn't always mean consent and that I need to be fully justified in my decisions to others in the group."” —Ryan Collins, UNC Chapel Hill Student Government
“[I will tell people back at home that my course] was one of the best experiences of my life. ” —Will Leimenstoll, UNC Chapel Hill Student Government
“[When I get home] I can use my new found self reliance, confidence and motivation to show others the importance of trying new things and experiencing situations outside of normal life. Before this trip I was a chronic complainer, but right now I feel like there's nothing I can't do.” —Dillon Robertson, NC Teaching Fellows
“I have learned the Four Pillars, and how I can incorporate them into my life and teaching career. I've learned to try things I never though I could do.” —Tom Melvin, NC Teaching Fellows
“I have learned the importance of experiential education and how valuable teamwork is. I want to be able to present my students with a challenge and empower them to overcome that challenge [like Iearned on my course].” —Katlin Frey, NC Teaching Fellows
“[My group participated in Outward Bound] to gain leadership, to reaffirm our faith in ourselves and to remind us we will be amazing teachers.” —Jordan Davis, NC Teaching Fellows
“[My instructors] made course truly wonderful. I am trhilled to have been taught by my instructors.” —Andrew McLeod, NC Teaching Fellows
“[I see the experience and learnings of Outward Bound translating to my school through] the students tackling challenges with teamwork, tenacity and compassion.” —Greg Squire, Teacher from The Pine School
“[I want my students to remember] teamwork, respect, compassion and self-reliance upon returning to school.” —Sonya Houseman, Teacher at The Pine School
“I have learned patience is a virtue, challenges are expected and nothing is easy.” —Jacob Rozansky, 14, The Pine School
“Learning trust in other people can always help you in the long run.” —Erin Tufano, 14, The Pine School
“[I learned that] everyday you will be faced with a challenge and you may need to work together as a group [to overcome it]. ” —Tyler Roberts, 15, The Pine School
“My school participated in Outward Bound] to allow us to step outside of comfort zones or a little while and to let us find the strength within us.” —Manuela Iragorri, 14, Ransom Everglades School
“I have learned to respect and love the people around me, because they are the ones who will help me the most. Believing in each other [on course] is what got us through it, and that can transferred to school and home, too.” —Chris Andrunsky, 14, Ransom Everglades School
“I learned to try new things, perserverence and teamwork. ” —Samantha Sclar, 15, Ransom Everglades School
“I have learned more awareness for the slowly disappearing Everglades. I want to start a "Save the Everglades" club at my school!” —Jose Ramon Lorido, 14, Ransom Everglades School
“[I learned to] always perservere and be ready for whatever comes up.” —Sam Hunter, 18, Berkeley Prep School
“The course designed to fit our students and their abilities. Each of them had a chance to learn, had duties everyday and were challenged physically and mentally. It worked really well.” —Melissa Hessler, Teacher at Creative Learning Academy
“I know I want to be a leader that influences my peers in a positive way and help them make good decisions. ” —Sam Boatright, 14, Creative Learning Academy
“I have learned to apply what I've learned by truly going 'Outward Bound.' I can start putting in my full 100% effort in my schoolwork and show compassion by helping my community.” —Grace McLaughlin, 14, Creative Learning Academy
“I can apply [what I've learned at Outward Bound] to school and my community by working with others better and having a good attitude.” —Joelle, 13, Savannah Country Day School
“This course helped me see more of the world and appreciate its worth. I grew closer to my classmates and grew mentally and physically stronger. This was a great experience that made me grateful for what I have at home.” —Olivier Buelvar, 14, Savannah Country Day School
“My level of self-confidence increased because I was able to complete something that took lots of strength and patience.” —Skylar Lanier, 13, Savannah Country Day School
“I learned on my course that I need to make sure my actions have compassion and quality behind them.” —Ian Rossiter, age 21, Furman University
“I have learned to be more patient, live life one moment at a time, believe in myself and my goals.” —Allison Francisco, age 21, Furman University
“The course definitely will impact my future because it opened up doors for backpacking for me and a possible future career involving parks and recreation. ” —Adrina, age 17, Camp Coleman
“It was a difficult, yet valuable learning experience that changed my prospective on life. ” —Scott, age 16, Camp Coleman
“My leadership skills definitely improved so working in groups at school or in a career will be a lot easier now with the knowledge I take away from this course.” —Samantha, age 17, Camp Coleman

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