Outward Bound expeditionary learning can occur nearly anywhere, with almost anyone: in the classroom; on a grueling mountain ascent; in the post-course debrief, or in the days following a return from the wilderness.

The positive outcomes our students experience – whether they are middle and high school age, college-age or adults – manifest in the form of increased self-confidence, awareness and respect for the interdependence of individuals and a desire to make a positive difference in their own lives and in the lives of others. Strangers become life-long friends. Small accomplishments on a course become life-long habits. Through shared challenges, adversity, failure and success, students discover and develop new skills, confidence and passion.

The idea that “you are needed,” no matter who you are, is a critical ingredient to the success of Outward Bound programs. And it is this element of inclusiveness and reliance on teamwork that sets an Outward Bound expedition apart from any other learning experience; expedition members are “crew, not passengers.”

Outward Bound doesn’t only encourage students to contribute to the group; we require it. After all, on an Outward Bound expedition, awareness and respect of others are not optional; it is necessary for success. > WATCH: What is Experiential Learning?



  • LEARNING THROUGH EXPERIENCE Outward Bound students move through a sequence of engaging experiences, like backpacking, that promotes skill mastery and incorporates reflection. Throughout the activity, students learn from their success as well as failure.
  • CHALLENGE AND ADVENTURE The unfamiliar settings where Outward Bound expeditions occur challenge our students mentally and physically. Amidst the demands of the expedition, students learn to dig deep and to push themselves, where they often find there is more in them than they know.
  • SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT Each expedition is designed to support physical and emotional safety. Skilled and compassionate instructors use group facilitation methods and the natural world around them to help foster a caring, positive and inclusive group culture.

The Four Pillars

The Four Pillars represent the foundation of Outward Bound and are at the core of every course we deliver. We also incorporate these principles that complement the four pillars: Safety, Service, Courage, Leadership, Diversity, Environmental Stewardship.

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