About UsVeterans & Service Members


Challenge. Adventure. Camaraderie.

Veterans and Service Members Backpacking and Rock Climbing  - October 2011

For over 20 years, Outward Bound has run wilderness expeditions specifically designed for war veterans. Outward Bound draws on the healing benefit of team work, challenge, friendship and the natural world, to help with transitions back into life at home whether you have retired from the military or are home between deployments. 

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Now, through generous funding, this tremendous opportunity for adventure, challenge and self-discovery is available TUITION FREE* to Veterans and Service Members!

These programs are designed to be fun, fast and challenging. They are suited for those in good physical condition and are opportunities for Veterans and Service Members to:

  • Take a break from their busy lives
  • Challenge themselves in new ways
  • Develop skills that will assist them in re-adjusting to life at home
  • Candidly discuss obstacles faced by Veterans and Service Members  
  • Rediscover their physical and emotional strengths
  • Enjoy a unique and inspiring adventure surrounded by fellow Veterans and Service Members in the beauty of the country for which they have served. 


Hear more about what makes these programs so powerful. 


In association with:

COMMITMENT FEE: The tuition expense for our Veterans and Service Members Programs are fully funded by several generous donors. These anonymous donors believe that investing money in an Outward Bound experience for our veterans and service members honors their service to our country. Short notice cancellations deplete the funds that have been so generously provided by our donors.  Veterans and Service members must place a credit card number on file at the time of their enrollment. Veterans and Service Members will be charged a $250 Cancellation Fee Penalty ONLY if they cancel 30 days or less prior to their program start. If a Service Member is on active duty, or a member of the National Guard or Reserves, and receives orders to deploy the Cancellation Fee will be waived.

TRAVEL COSTS: North Carolina Outward Bound covers the cost of Veterans and Service Members travel to and from course. If a plane ticket is required we will book the ticket in the Veteran or Service Members name upon approval of their medical forms. If the Veteran or Service Member cancels their attendance after purchase of the plane ticket North Carolina Outward will charge the credit card on file for the cost of the plane ticket. If the Veteran or Service Member is driving from a point more than 100 miles from the start location of a program, you will be reimbursed for your gas and parking expenses.

Veterans and Service Members Course Offerings

Blue Ridge Mountains Backpacking and Rock Climbing

Create bonds and lasting friendships with fellow veterans and service members in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Crews of eight to twelve will be challenged to work together and support and encouragement each other as they find laughter in the great adventure of Outward Bound. Participants will celebrate success from high atop a mountain, test their balance on a high ropes course, and reconnect with themselves in some of the most beautiful wilderness in the country they've served. 

Available Courses

NTVE521 - October 16-21, 2015


Everglades/Ten Thousand Islands Coastal Canoeing

This six-day coastal canoeing course will take participants through a maze of lush mangrove tunnels in the unique waterways of the Everglades. Participants will work together to read charts, explore fragile ecosystems, cook and set-up camp on white sandy beaches under the stars and paddle to new areas each day. In addition, participants will rediscover their potential, build trust and practice communicating and reflecting with their fellow veterans and service members. 

Available Courses

NEVC-526 - Dec 3 - Dec 8, 2015

NEVC-527 - Dec 12 - Dec 17, 2015

NEVC-622 - Feb 8 - Feb 13, 2016

NEVC-623 - Feb 20 - Feb 25, 2016



North Carolina Outer Banks Sea Kayaking

This course offers veterans and service members the opportunity to expedition by kayak through the 200 mile stretch of islands off the coast of North Carolina known as the Outer Banks. From tales of the Lost Colony, the Wright Brothers and Blackbeard the pirate, the Outer Banks are steeped in legends and history, setting the stage for an amazing experience.

Available Courses

NOVK524 - August 3-9, 2015

NOVK525 - August 17 - August 23, 2015

Why We Serve

Everyday men and women in uniform return from active duty only to face the unexpected challenges of readjusting to life at home. Here are some quick facts about what US veterans are facing today:

  • 2-2.5 million soldiers, served in Afghanistan and Iraq
  • 6,500 veterans committed suicide in 2012
  • 27% met the criteria for drug/alcohol abuse 4 months after returning from deployment
  • 20% of veterans have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 

How We Serve

According to program alumni, Outward Bound Veterans Programs allow participants to:

  • Develop skills that assist with re-adjusting to life at home
  • Candidly discuss obstacles faces by veterans
  • Rediscover the physical and emotional strengths
  • Enjoy a unique and inspiring adventure surrounded by fellow veterans in the beauty of the country for which they have served 

Through generous funding Outward Bound is able to offer these programs and transportation at no cost to participants. To contribute please visit: https://www.ncobs.org/donate/.


Results and Outcomes

A study conducted by the University of Texas invited veteran course participants to participate in a web-based survey two days prior to their course, within 48 hours after their course, and then again 30-45 days after their course. Outcomes were then measured against a control group of veterans that did not attend an Outward Bound course. Findings concluded that NCOBS program attendees noticed:

  • Significant reduction in mental health symptoms 
  • Significant increase in openness to seek professional psychological help 
  • Significant increase in life satisfaction Significant increase in motivation or behavior that promotes personal growth in one’s life 
  • Significant decrease emotional restriction 


“This trip has had a profound impact on my life. I was wounded in Afghanistan in '08. Since then I have struggled to find happiness, friendships and direction. I now feel like I have a purpose for living and my direction is becoming clearer. And above all, this is the happiest I’ve felt since I returned home! I never thought I would feel so alive ever again."-Chris, Program Alumni


I'm back on the grid after a week of canoeing with an amazing group of fellow vets. It was challenging, to say the least, but the rewards are immeasurable. I am still physically tired from the trip but I am mentally refreshed. Not to sound dramatic but this past week changed my life.” –Mike, Program Alumni



“Throughout my 13 years of service I have never been a part of a more rewarding six days. Meeting other veterans, sharing our stories and experiences with no contact to the outside world has actually been fun. Giving others like myself the chance to still work and be a part of a team to accomplish a common goal is what any service member past or present thrives for.”-Tim, Program Alumni


“The experiences here at OB has helped me find peace and serenity. Both are feeling that have been absent from my life for many years.”-Catherine, Program Alumni



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