We look forward to having you on course with us soon! If you have questions about the application process, submitting forms, or anything else, you may contact your student services representative directly, call the Student Services General Line ,(800) 878-5258 or email us at, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are pleased you have begun the process that will lead you Outward Bound. We promise you an extraordinary outdoor adventure and bonding opportunity.
Veterans programs are designed to be fun, fast and challenging. We make the most of the organizational and teamwork skills you learned in the military to get you straight into the wilderness. Your leadership skills will be tested as you and your crew-mates take on the responsibility of route planning, navigation, camp site selection and meal preparation all the while helping one and other overcome the physical obstacles of being in the wilderness and the emotional challenges of transitioning back to life at home.
At Outward Bound you will have the opportunity to discuss your service experience in a supportive, non-confrontational setting surrounded by fellow veterans while experiencing the beauty of the country you have served.
The wilderness is our classroom. We operate in all kinds of weather and travel a variety of terrain. There will be times when you can expect to be hot or cold, wet, tired and sore. You will push your limits both physically and mentally on Outward Bound. Our staff, sometimes veterans themselves, have extensive wilderness experience working with groups. You can rely on their ability to manage risk on your program. However, personal health, safety and well-being in the wilderness is the responsibility of each and every member of your crew.
Please keep in mind that this is a back country wilderness expedition. This is not a vacation or a retreat. You will be camping outside under tarps or in tents and will not have access to showers or bathrooms. As explained above we operate in all types of weather conditions and your course could involve cold rainy days even in Southwest Florida.
This course web page contains all the information needed to prepare for your wilderness adventure. Please bookmark for future reference. It is your “go to” location for all forms, gear lists and information specific to YOUR course. Take the time to read the information and complete and return all your required forms. Failure to fully complete your forms and return them by the due date can delay your application. Without all relevant data, it is difficult to adequately plan schedules and logistics necessary to provide a quality Outward Bound experience.
To complete an Outward Bound course is an achievement. People of all ages remember their Outward Bound experiences for a lifetime and frequently report, "Outward Bound was the best thing I ever did." On behalf of Outward Bound, we thank you for your service to our nation and look forward to seeing you in the wilderness.
We look forward to seeing you Outward Bound!
For over 30 years, Outward Bound has run wilderness expeditions specially designed for war veterans and service members. Outward Bound draws on the healing benefit of teamwork, challenge, friendship and the natural world. These courses provide a unique opportunity for self-discovery that can help veterans with their transitions back into civilian life.
You can expect to spend a good deal of time each day in canoes. You will be in a tandem canoe, which means there are two participants per canoe. Depending on the wind and weather, the level of difficulty will vary day to day. You and your crewmates will learn or practice:
It will be necessary for you and your crewmates to perform a swim assessment; as well as a flip and swim assessment as practice for paddling and self-rescue. This activity is closely monitored by your instructors. It is critical for us to determine your paddling comfort as you and your crew explore the area. Even if you are a non-swimmer or weak swimmer, you will still participate in this safety assessment. All students will be wearing personal flotation devices (PFDs) during the assessment. Personal flotation devices (PFDs) are required apparel anytime students are on the water.
SOLO - SELF REFLECTION
Solo typically occurs more than halfway through your course and may last up to 24 hours. Your instructors will assign each participant an individual campsite within a designated area. Your instructors will teach you procedures to follow during solo and monitor you during this experience. You will know the location of your instructors’ campsite should you need to contact them; otherwise it is essential that you remain in your designated area. If your course has an overnight solo you will have your clothing, food and water. In addition, you will have Outward Bound issued gear: including rain gear, shelter, sleeping bag, compass and whistle. Due to a decreased need for caloric intake, you will have less food available than you would have during your other course activities. Solo is a not a “survival test.” You will not be physically active during solo, as solo is a time for rest, recharge and reflection. Solo is also a good time to write in the journals we provide. If you have questions or concerns, please discuss with your Student Services Representative or your instructors.
FINAL CHALLENGE EVENT
At the end of your course, you may participate in a final challenge event. This is an opportunity to see how much your skills have improved since you began your course.
TEN THOUSAND ISLANDS, FL
Participants will paddle through lush mangrove tunnels in a land of contrast: between tropic and semi-tropic, land and sea, and salt and fresh water as they learn to work together to read tide charts, explore unique ecosystems, cook and set-up camp on white sandy beaches under the stars and paddle to new areas each day. Participants will also learn about what makes the Ten Thousand Islands famous worldwide, the environmental value the area adds, and how we can better take care of it. <Click to learn more about this course area.>
While in the Everglades/Ten Thousand Islands, you may be sleeping on the beach in tents with up to 1 other participant or on camping platforms in a personal bug tent. You will also be given a ground sheet and a foam sleeping pad to place under your sleeping bag.
Here are some books that we encourage you to read as you plan for your course:
The history of Outward Bound serving veterans dates to 1971 and the “Spartan Pathfinder” program run by the John F. Kennedy Center for Military Assistance. The purpose of the program was to use Outward Bound techniques to reorient soldiers with drug and disciplinary problems and “promote self-confidence and self-awareness through controlled stress in a wilderness environment.” From 1975 - 1981, the Dart-mouth Outward Bound Center and the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School began serving veterans working through Post Traumatic Stress and other mental health diagnoses.
In 1981 Dartmouth Outward Bound Center merged with Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and by 1983 Outward Bound for Veterans was born.
Since 2006 Outward Bound has served close to 10,000 Veterans and Active Duty service members. While the majority of the participants are veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, we welcome veterans from any era to attend one of our courses.
The founder of the Vietnam veterans program and a guiding hand through many iterations of Outward Bound for Veterans was Army Colonel Bob Rheault. Colonel Rheault commanded both the 1st and 5th Special Forces Groups. He became an Outward Bound instructor after he left the Army, “because it was the closest thing to Special Forces that he could find.” For 32 years Colonel Rheault served as an Instructor, Program Director and President of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, retiring in 2001. Colonel Rheault passed away in 2013.
Have fun and enjoy the adventure of preparation while training for your course! This is an excellent opportunity for you to get outside, get fit and explore your neighborhood's parks and recreation areas.Your attitude of commitment and willingness to try new things are two of the most important contributions you can bring to your course. Prepare yourself to take on new challenges and try new activities.
Your ability to interact well with a group is also important to successfully completing your course. Plan to be patient, to persevere, to expand your limits and to have a positive and memorable adventure! We strongly suggest that applicants who are overweight or have high blood pressure, family history of heart disease, diabetes, a prolonged sedentary lifestyle or smoke more than one pack a week consult with their physician to establish an exercise program.
You DO NOT have to be an athlete or highly-trained to attend an Outward Bound course.
You DO have to be physically capable and active. Our courses are demanding. You will use your muscles in new and challenging ways or ways that you have not used them in a while!
It takes strength and fitness to carry a 50+ pound pack for 5 miles or climb a rock wall. If you aren’t already involved in a fitness program, now is the time to start. Your efforts will pay off in enjoyment, comfort and fun.
THE BEST EXERCISE THERE IS
For most people, the best and most accessible exercise is jogging—a combination of walking and running compatible with your current level of fitness, ability and interest. Why jogging? It’s the simplest, cheapest, least encumbered, most available and most efficient way to use your large leg muscles—requiring the heart and circulatory system to pump large quantities of blood and oxygen.
The most important thing is to find an activity that you enjoy doing. While exercising three times a week for thirty minutes is the minimum, five times a week is optimum physical preparation for your course.
Build in 15-30 minutes every other day for light weight training. Weight training helps build strength which will complement your aerobic fitness.
PREPARATION FOR WATER ACTIVITIES
Endurance train at least three times a week on a rowing machine. If a rowing machine is not available, supplement with strength training three times a week by including sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups or weight training that concentrates on your shoulders, stomach and back.
As always cardiovascular exercise like running, walking, swimming or riding a bike will get you heart pumping and set you up for success on course!
Due to Leave No Trace camping ethics, we seldom build fires. You will be cooking on gas camp stoves. With coaching from your instructors, you learn backcountry cooking techniques and are responsible for helping with the preparation of all meals. Your diet will be a mix of dehydrated foods, fresh fruits and vegetables. We use rice, beans, tortillas, granola, oatmeal, crackers, salami, cheese, peanut butter, jelly, tuna fish, pasta and trail mixes.
The amount of physical activity you experience during your course demands a nutritious diet to help fuel your body. Junk food is not available on course. To prepare, we suggest you cut down on candy, soft drinks, coffee, pastries and other junk foods. There will be coffee and tea available on course. You will also be able to smoke, chew or dip at times designated by your instructors. However, moderating caffeine and tobacco consumption is essential as you will not be able to consume caffeinated beverages or use tobacco products on your normal schedule. Alcohol and drugs are not permitted on Outward Bound courses. If you are overweight, don’t go on a crash diet to shed extra pounds; you will only deplete the strength you want to develop. Please check with our Medical Screener to set a realistic goal for weight loss and stay committed.
The following list represents common meals at Outward Bound (this is not a menu)
Drinks (other than water)
The North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) strives to accommodate applicants who have dietary restrictions.
Our courses are backcountry, wilderness-based programs. We purchase our course food in bulk. Prior to course start, your instructors plan your crew’s meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks). We travel expedition-style with approximately a week’s worth of food at a time. All course food must be packable and non-perishable. You prepare and eat meals together as a crew in a camp setting, under the supervision and guidance of your instructors. You will not have access to a dining hall or cafeteria. We do not permit participants to bring their own food or snacks unless authorized to do so by NCOBS.
Be prepared to try new foods. It is imperative for your well-being to replenish the calories you are expending each day.
Please complete the Dietary Allergen Questionnaire to inform Outward Bound of any dietary restrictions. This information will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis by our Medical Screener.
Food Allergies: Eight kinds of food cause most food allergies: cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish and shellfish. Signs of a food allergy include a rash, or red, itchy skin; stuffy or itchy nose, sneezing, or itchy and teary eyes; vomiting, stomach cramps or diarrhea; angioedema or swelling; hoarseness, throat tightness or a lump in the throat; wheezing, chest tightness or trouble breathing. Some people with food allergies can have a serious reaction called anaphylaxis.
NCOBS cannot guarantee there will be no exposure to known allergens. If the applicant has had an anaphylactic response related to a dietary allergen, we must consider our remote wilderness area as we determine the appropriateness of our programs for the applicant.
Food Intolerance or Sensitivity: A food intolerance or a food sensitivity occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a food item. This can lead to symptoms such as intestinal gas, abdominal pain or diarrhea. If you are able to tolerate the food item in limited amounts, please let us know. It may broaden the range of foods we are able to provide.
Food Preference: Food preferences are choices that are made for reasons other than allergy, tolerance or sensitivity. We sincerely request that you think through your practice of limiting your food options while you are on course. Our primary goal is to meet students’ dietary allergies or intolerance/ sensitivities. The addition of food preferences could further influence the menu items we can provide.
Our staff members, who have had years of experience in the field, find that once students with food preferences engage in our rigorous backcountry, wilderness-based activities, those same students tend to (at least temporarily) broaden their food choices. We believe students may find these foods surprisingly appealing during their course due to their bodies’ increased need for calories.
Maintaining personal hygiene in the wilderness is important and is taught on every course. You will be outside while on course and won't have access to a shower or bath. You will be able to do basic cleanup every day: brush your teeth, wash your face and comb your hair. At the end of your course, you will be able to do a more thorough cleanup.
Since North Carolina Outward Bound is an outdoor program, you can expect to learn and use Leave No Trace camping techniques. Know that it is natural to have questions regarding sanitation in an outdoor setting. Your instructors will answer your questions and will teach you the hygienic and environmentally safe way to dispose of waste as well as techniques for basic cleanliness - don't hesitate to approach them with any questions or concerns
In our everyday lives, technology is always at our fingertips. By contrast, in the life of an Outward Bound participant, you have the unique opportunity to unplug and fully immerse yourself in the wilderness to connect with your crewmates and instructors.
Safety and Risk Management
Please review our Safety and Risk Management page.
Depending on the length of your course and course area, mail may be delivered to you. Delivery can take up to one week from the time it reaches our base camp. Please do not have packages sent to you unless they contain emergency items - no candy or food please! All correspondence must be clearly addressed with the participant’s name and course number. Letters received near the end of the course may not be delivered on time and will be returned to sender. You will be notified of your base camp mailing address and emergency numbers prior to your course start. If your course allows for mail delivery (criteria below), remember to bring postcards with stamps attached as you can write to family and friends while you are on course.
Mail delivery is not available on 4-9 day courses.
At all levels of our school, we demonstrate our dedication to participant safety by our words, actions and values. Outward Bound has been a national leader in wilderness safety for over 50 years and frequently advises and assists other organizations in outdoor adventure risk management. Living and traveling in a remote wilderness setting exposes you to risks different than those you may encounter in your daily life. We believe that accepting appropriate risks and training and preparing participants to manage those risks, provides invaluable life experience. Regardless of precautionary measures, risk and uncertainty are central to the concept of challenge and adventure. The intent is not to avoid activities involving risk but to recognize, prepare for and successfully manage risk. In order to identify any potential hazards and update best practices, our programs are regularly reviewed by outdoor professionals from inside and outside the Outward Bound system.
Outward Bound instructors receive regular training in the activities and environments in which we deliver our courses. They are trained to anticipate and manage risks inherent in remote areas. They are also trained in first aid, search and rescue and emergency management. Our instructors are certified Wilderness First Responders; some are Wilderness Emergency Medical Technicians or equivalent. Outward Bound maintains a minimum staff-to-student ratio of approximately 1:6. Instructors work in teams of two or three with six to 12 students. Instructor teams are usually co-ed but balancing skills and teaching styles is our primary staffing focus. One instructor in every team is a lead instructor with multiple seasons of training and experience. The lead instructor has single point accountability for the safety and effectiveness of the course in the field as well as mentoring their staffing team. For more information on our instructors, please check out our staff profiles page or our careers page for instructor requirements.
As a participant, you must take responsibility for yourself by following instructions and practicing the skills taught by your instructors.
Please also review our Safety and Risk Management page.
If a family emergency occurs while the course is in progress, emergency messages can be relayed by calling our toll-free number (800-878-5258) on weekdays 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM eastern time. Prior to course start, you will receive an email that provides an after-hours and weekend emergency phone number.
North Carolina Outward Bound School supplies the technical equipment needed for your, course. Depending on the course activities, we provide backpacks, canoes, sea kayaks, rock climbing gear, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, shelter, rain gear, compass, food, water bottles, cooking equipment, and eating utensils. Please refer to the Clothing and Gear List below for the items to bring to course.
Because our courses are subject to unpredictable weather, obtaining the proper clothing is crucial. Please bring the items on the Clothing and Gear list as described.
First, shop your closet or those of your family or friends - you might have many of these items already. Then start planning what you may need to buy, leaving yourself time to find sales or free shipping.
Many students shop for clothing and gear from the following retailers:
Plan ahead! When you arrive for course start, you will not have an opportunity to purchase forgotten items!
When packing, use a duffel bag or soft-sided luggage (if available) due to limited storage space at our facility.
When you arrive, your instructors will facilitate a process we call “duffel shuffle” that includes:
Our Clothing and Gear list reflects the layering principle. It is vital that all your clothing be comfortable, quick-drying, and warm. Several layers of light clothing keep you warm and can be adjusted to changes in both weather and activity. For example, wearing a long sleeve shirt, a fleece layer and a jacket allows you to adapt to changing conditions.
Points to keep in mind while planning and shopping:
Participants will not be permitted to begin their course without their required medications OR with new medications not approved by our Medical Screener.
All medications (prescription, non-prescription and over-the-counter) must:
Your medication container should not include other medications, vitamins or supplements. If possible, bring a double supply.
Do not bring non-prescription medications such as aspirin, Advil, etc., unless they are listed in your medical information. We have a medical kit that contains these medications.
Medication updates that occur after applicants are cleared to participate could affect their status on course. Please update the Student Services Department with any medication changes such as:
For participants on youth courses, our instructors carry all prescription medications, with the exception of birth control and emergency medications such as EpiPens or rescue asthma inhalers.
For participants on adult (age 18+) courses, we encourage participants to store their medication(s) container(s) in a zip-lock bag for protection. Pill sorters are not recommended.
Please bring your prescription eyewear to course and any applicable backup options. For glasses a retaining band is necessary to prevent loss during an activity.
For participants who wear contact lenses, you must bring your prescription glasses as back up. Be sure to bring enough contact lens solution so you can be diligent in your contact lens routine while out on course.
Please be aware that the use of contact lenses in the backcountry does carry more risk than when at home. A great level of diligence and hygiene is required in ensuring you do not damage your eyes.
You will be outside during your course. To maintain your health and comfort, the best protection from biting insects, skin irritation and sunburn is a physical barrier of clothing. Bring the required clothing and gear listed – it's essential to your comfort and safety.
It is your responsibility to follow your instructor’s directions and monitor how your skin reacts to the changing environment. Let them know if you encounter skin concerns before they present a barrier to your participation.
If you are traveling by air to your course, please review the TSA Carry-on Requirements for liquids.
Here are a few tips caring for long, kinky, or curly hair while on course:
Before course, consider putting your hair in a protective style, allowing enough time for your head to adjust prior to the start of your Outward Bound course. Be sure that your protective style will fit underneath a helmet. Suggested protective styles include:
Increased physical activity during Outward Bound may cause a change in your menstrual cycle. Prepare your menstruation kit using a zip lock bag even if you don’t expect your cycle during course.
Items to include:
We practice Leave No Trace camping techniques. Therefore, we pack out what we pack in. Instructors will distribute small opaque zip lock bags and small stuff sack for your individual storage of used items.You will dispose of any used items either during re-supplies (approximately every three to seven days) or at course end.
Your instructors are experienced in addressing menstruation care questions or concerns while on course. Don’t hesitate to ask them questions.
It's nice to go light, but many past students also recommend bringing the following items:
Camp Shoes: A Croc-style, fast drying sandal with a heel strap is the ideal camp shoe for our courses. Your running shoes may double as camp shoes but be prepared for them to get wet, as camp shoes often serve as your stream/river crossing shoe. Camp shoes must fit securely to the foot, have a hard sole, be closed-toed and enclose the majority of the foot. Crocs and Keen sandals are ideal examples of camp shoes that can also be river crossing shoes.
Running Shoes: Running is a course component on most of our courses. A sturdy pair of running shoes with a supportive sole is ideal for running. These should be shoes you feel comfortable running in on pavement, gravel roads and trails. Barefoot running or minimalist style shoes are inappropriate for these areas.
Wet Shoes: A shoe that encloses the entire foot, has a hard sole and fits securely to the foot is the ideal wet shoe for our marine environment courses. An old pair of running shoes or sneakers is an example of a wet shoe that is often used by both students and staff. These are the shoes you will paddle in and they will get wet. Examples of unacceptable wet shoes include aqua socks or thin neoprene water shoes; flip flops; or any open toed, open heeled, or open sided sandals like Tevas, Chacos, Keens, Vibram 5 Fingers, and Crocs.
Each applicant has been sent a Welcome Email that contains an individual Applicant Portal link. Emails are sent from email@example.com. If you need this email re-sent, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Resend Applicant Portal. Please also include in the body of your email your full name.
Once you have accessed your Applicant Portal, please review the Welcome Tab and then proceed to the Forms tab. All forms must be completed before your application will be reviewed. Your position may be released if required forms become past due.
The tuition and travel expense for your North Carolina Outward Bound Veterans course is fully funded by several generous donors. After you are cleared to participate and the course is confirmed a “go” we will contact you to finalize your travel plans. Travel plans are typically confirmed 30-45 days before the course starts.
You have the option of either flying or driving to/from course:
NCOBS will purchase you a round-trip plane ticket to/from the airport course start/end location.
You are responsible for your own baggage fees.
If you are traveling from west of the Mississippi River, we may arrange for you to travel the day before course starts so that you arrive on time. Please plan for this when making arrangements to be away from work, school or home. Scholarship funds will cover the cost of a hotel room if we need to fly you in a day early. You will be responsible for arranging shuttle transportation from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel back to the airport the following day to meet Outward Bound.
After we purchase your airline ticket, if you cancel from the course or do not show up for the flight, you are responsible* for paying the cost of the ticket and the $250 Cancellation Penalty.
EXCEPTION*: If you cannot attend course due to receiving deployment orders that conflict with the course dates, we will not hold you responsible for cost of the plane ticket or the Cancellation Penalty, provided you supply us with documentation of your orders.
You can choose to drive to/from course. You will need to park in long-term parking at the airport. If you choose to drive to course, NCOBS will reimburse you for gas and airport parking fees. You must mail, e-mail or fax a copy of your receipts within 7-days of the course end.
YOUR COURSE WILL BEGIN AT THIS LOCATION WHETHER YOU ARE ARRIVING BY PLANE OR CAR.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
100 Terminal Dr - Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
To reduce the likelihood of participants testing positive upon arrival to Outward Bound, we highly encourage participants to take a rapid COVID-19 antigen test 24-hours or less prior to traveling to Outward Bound. Participants who test positive should not travel and will not be accepted onto course.
Participants will take an NCOBS-administered rapid antigen COVID-19 test on course start day upon arrival. Participants testing positive, as well as any close contacts, will not be accepted on course.
If you intend to travel by commercial transportation, you must submit a back-up travel plan should you need to travel home under quarantine or isolation protocols. Plan must NOT include commercial travel.
ADULT (Course age ranges 18+, 18-25, 30+) must either:
Once course is in progress, if you must depart course early due to COVID-19, your plan must allow for departure within 48 hours.
If you are delayed while traveling, call us immediately at 800-878-5258. We work diligently to accommodate unforeseen travel delays. However, in certain cases of extreme delays, it may not be possible for you to join the course.
Traveling to and from course with a cell phone and charger is encouraged. Upon arrival and check in with our staff at the airport, we will remind participants to call their families immediately, as cell phones are not permitted once the course has officially begun. At that point, all cell phones will be turned off and stored in personal luggage until course end.
Be dressed in items from the clothing list, make all necessary calls and have eaten prior to departure from the airport.
Review current government regulations regarding carry-on items at www.tsa.gov. Many airlines charge for each checked bag. Check your airline’s baggage policy and pay any fees for you or your child’s inbound and outbound ﬂights.
EXPULSION OR EARLY DEPARTURE
If you are expelled or choose to leave your course voluntarily you are responsible for paying any change fees or increase in air fare required for you to return home.
An Outward Bound representative will meet ALL arrivals in Terminal 2 baggage claim (lower level) across from carousel number 3 and near the Delta Baggage Services counter. Reference FLL Terminal 2 map.
North Carolina Outward Bound strongly suggests that you wear a mask while on planes and in other crowded, confined spaces during your travel.
Look for our representative wearing a shirt or hat with an Outward Bound logo and/or carrying an Outward Bound sign. Our representative will have a list of all student names and will note your arrival.
Our supervision officially begins when students depart the airport by NCOB vehicle or charter transportation.
Please reference our COVID-19 Program Protocols.
Should you need to depart Outward Bound due to a positive COVID-19 test result or other illness symptoms:
HOTELS NEAR THE FORT LAUDERDALE HOLLYWOOD AIRPORT
Prior to booking, conﬁrm any minimum age requirements and availability of shuttle service to/from the airport (if applicable).
If you are traveling by air, be aware of TSA guidelines. To avoid TSA taking items out of your carry-on luggage (like insect repellent and sunscreen), pack these items in your checked luggage or do not exceed size specifications. For more information please visit the TSA website: Transportation Security Administration - Carry-ons
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