A New Way of Learning

What if I told you you could learn life skills, problem solving, and perseverance in a unconventional and exciting way? Outward Bound School is a non-profit organization that teaches students these skills through exhibitions that range from 9 to 50 days long. After finishing his 9 day exhibition, Isaac Huntington said “I’m already ready to go back!”

According to Outward Bound they base their courses upon their four main pillars, self reliance, craftsmanship, courage, and physical fitness.  From day one students are pushed to rise to the challenge and set new boundaries for themselves. This may include rappelling off a 50 foot cliff or simply making dinner for your crew using a basic camping stove and a few pans. On top of these tasks the crew must work together to hang the food, set up camp, and plan for the next day before they can settle into their sleeping bags for some well deserved sleep.

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Upon arriving at base camp each student sets objectives for themselves. Your teachers are aware of these aspirations and help you to strive by the end of course. Setting, and achieving, goals is one of the many ways the organization is life altering. The challenges each crew faces vary, but all help to bond a closer family.

By day 5 you start to work as one strong, well-oiled machine destined for success; dinner and camp are ready to go in less time, which leaves more time for conversation. The few times the students are not scrambling to get things done they find themselves turning to their new friends. Although at first it's strange not turning directly to a phone, by day two such a thing is done with ease.

Sometimes opening up to strangers is scarily easy. As an Outward Bound student, one will find themselves sharing more than ever before. Avery Berter, a former Outward Bound student, said “Until I met my crew mates I never thought I’d talk about my struggles at home and work.” So as you can see, new comfort is found between each student. Students come from all around the country, from different home situations, and classes, but on course none of it matters.

An Outward Bound instructor once said, “there is more to be learned one day of discomfort, poverty, and anxiety than in a lifetime of apparent happiness, security, riches and power.” By living by these words stepping out of your comfort zone becomes exciting rather than uncomfortable.

The initial idea for Outward Bound was created by Kurt Khan in 1941. He knew he wanted to teach young men in a new environment; one without desks, textbooks, and quizzes. From this basis his program grew and now teaches over 250,000 students each year. With over 30 schools nationwide and 11 in the US, Khan has ultimately reached his goal and has changed many lives.

Sarah DeVito