The Blue Peter is a nautical flag often used as a symbol in Outward Bound teachings. Traditionally, this flag signals all persons should report on board as the vessel is about to leave the safety of harbor and proceed to the open sea. Outward Bound uses the flag as a similar signifier for students who are stepping outside their comfort zones to join us on expedition.
Over 50 Years of Outward Bound in the U.S.
Outward Bound, as we have come to know it today, began somewhat humbly in 1933 with the opening of a small school in Scotland, called the Gordonstoun School. It was here that Kurt Hahn, a German-born educator, first began applying the principle that character development, leadership and service should have an equal emphasis as traditional academics within education.
When war broke out in Europe in 1939, so did the next step in the evolution of Outward Bound. Sir Lawrence Holt, a parent of a Gordonstoun student who owned a large merchant shipping company, insisted that incomplete training was the cause of so many seamen’s unnecessary deaths in the Battle of the Atlantic. Hahn and Holt recognized that these young seamen had not yet been faced with adversity, so when they were faced with it they became overwhelmed and failed. These sailors needed to learn the will to survive, rather than simply the skills to survive. Together Hahn and Holt created a one-month curriculum that immersed young men in adventurous outdoor situations to help them develop confidence, perseverance, and camaraderie with their peers. Above all, the program was designed to help them discover they were far more capable and resilient than they realized.
Since 1941, Outward Bound has evolved and adapted its programs and venues, but never departed from Hahn’s original mission. Now, more than 75 later Outward Bound schools in over 30 countries on six continents worldwide, prepare people to take on challenges and achieve more than they ever thought possible.
Marjorie Buckley (right), founder of the North Carolina Outward Bound School, looks on as students complete a high ropes course.
North Carolina Outward Bound School received its charter from Outward Bound USA in 1966 and began delivering programs in the summer of 1967.
Despite earlier hopes to make NCOBS a seafaring school in the Outer Banks, the group chose the Linville Gorge Wilderness in the Pisgah National Forest for the first base camp.
The first Outward Bound programs were for adolescent boys.
These courses were challenging and helped to give young men important skills for life.
Just like today, students completed initiatives together in order to foster communication and teamwork.
INTERACT WITH HISTORY
Hear and see the story of Outward Bound like you never have before! Check out our new interactive history site in honor of 50 years of magic!
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North Carolina Outward Bound School is a registered 501(c)(3). Contributions are therefore tax-deductible to the full extent provided by the law. Financial information about North Carolina Outward Bound School is available from the NC State Solicitation Licensing Branch at (919) 733-4150.