Join a small, inclusive cohort on this nine-day sailing expedition and explore the rugged shoreline, intricate rivers and spruce-covered granite islands of the Eastern Seaboard’s wildest region.
This all-girls nine-day sailing course takes place in Maine’s unique marine environment and focuses on seamanship, exploring the natural world and learning to function in a team setting. Our 30-foot open sailboat serves as both home and classroom. You’ll learn beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in chart and compass navigation, small boat seamanship, weather observation and anchoring. Engage in regular group discussions, reflect on each day’s progress, and share leadership and onboard responsibilities so that every crew member is part of planning each day. As you live and work closely together, you’ll learn far more than seamanship. The habits learned and strengthened on this sailing expedition will serve for life.
Single Gender Courses
At Outward Bound, we are crew, not passengers. We support each other and share in our challenges and our victories. Your crew becomes a critical piece of your experience, both on course and beyond. While all our courses are designed to be inclusive for all gender identities, we understand the value of affinity spaces as well. This course is designed for girls, nonbinary, trans-girls, and gender expansive students who are looking for this kind of community on their course. You are welcome here – let’s adventure together!
Outward Bound is a place for everyone to learn, grow, make friends, and have fun! We encourage you to talk with one of our course advisors if you have questions about which course is the best fit for you.
NOTE: Outward Bound strongly recommends that all students be vaccinated against COVID-19 and up to date as defined by the CDC prior to arriving to their course start. For all open enrollment courses beginning on or after April 15, 2023, Outward Bound will no longer require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For questions regarding this policy please see this page or call us at 866-467-7651.
Affinity Groups, Gender-expansive, Middle School, Single Gender
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Travel to course, welcome, equipment issue and check, introduction to Maine coast
Rock climbing, Solo
Return to base camp, Personal Challenge Event, equipment clean-up and de-issue
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build core skills: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Form a crew that supports and encourages one another, and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Practice Outward Bound values: Learn to incorporate Outward Bound values into everyday life by pushing your own limits and seeking challenge as an opportunity for personal growth.
Demonstrate mastery: As the course nears the end, take on more leadership and decision-making responsibilities. Work together to apply new skills and achieve team goals during this final phase of the expedition.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, students live closely together, using only wind and oars as propulsion. As they rotate responsibilities, students learn the crafts of maneuvering under sail, coastal navigation, rowing and living aboard a small open boat. At night, students sleep on deck under a tarp, taking turns at anchor watch under brilliant night skies.
Students will learn to:
Adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind and execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind
Navigate using a chart and compass to arrive accurately at the day’s destination using techniques that include taking bearings, dead reckoning, triangulation and sounding
Move the boat under oars, coordinating all of the rowers' movements so that the oars splash as one and precisely maneuvering in and out of secluded anchorages
Live (cook, eat, sleep, work and learn) as a team aboard a small open sailboat
The granite that made the Maine Coast famous as a source of building material a century ago now provides the setting for some outstanding rock climbing or rappelling from the sea cliffs. Students learn to use climbing equipment, tie knots, climb and belay each other, while Instructors provide overall supervision of the site. Climbing hones and develops balance, coordination, flexibility and grace on the rock. Climbing presents many individual challenges for students, while the team must work together to set systems up, communicate clearly and support each other throughout the climb.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government or social service agencies. While on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Recreate Responsibly ethics throughout the course.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With enough food and equipment, students will set up campsites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first half or two-thirds of the course. The time students spend on Solo depends on the length of the course. On one-week courses, Solo is four to 12 hours long; on courses three weeks or longer, Solo will be up to 72 hours.
Often located along beautiful shorelines or peaceful rivers, campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing or just thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at least daily.
Strengthen a sense of self and feel what it means to connect to others. A nine-day course for 13- to 14-year-olds is the perfect introduction to the Outward Bound experience. Supportive Instructors teach the skills of wilderness travel and guide the formation of the group into an expedition team. As the students’ abilities grow, the Instructors intentionally and progressively challenge them to take on more responsibilities, try out more leadership roles and develop a heightened sense of self and purpose. Under close supervision of caring Instructors, students are encouraged to share ideas, experiment, triumph…and sometimes fail. While safety is conscientiously maintained, students may feel moments of frustration, disappointment, cold, wet and tired. At times, the Instructors coach young teens to review their choices, weigh the results, decide what changes to make and try again. This teaches decision-making, responsibility and resiliency, ensuring the group knows that all successes are truly theirs!
Through these condensed experiences, students are provided space to express their opinions and make real choices while developing their individual identity and resistance to peer pressure. While on the expedition, youth support each other and participate in social activities that strengthen empathy and belonging. Students become comfortable living and working together in the wilderness and leave feeling inspired to take on real challenge and return readier to fully participate and positively engage at home, at school and in their communities.
The essence of an Outward Bound course is student autonomy. During the first third of a course (a phase called “training expedition”), the Instructors are very present in the group. They teach outdoor skills, the technical aspects of the activities, and guide the students as they form a team. In the middle third of the course (called “main expedition”), the Instructors take a step back so that the students may step forward. Students begin to teach what they have already learned to each other, and experiment with applying basic skills to bigger challenges. The Instructors continue to coach and support as the students practice leadership roles. When the group meets a situation, environment, or activity they haven’t learned about, the Instructors jump back in and teach. Each time this happens, the group reaches competency more quickly. By the last third of the course (“final expedition”), students are the stars of the show. They’re applying what they know, leading each other, setting goals and solving problems collaboratively. The Instructors are close by and ready to step back in to prevent a safety issue but will let students find their own resiliency when they make mistakes, and ensure they feel the full spotlight of success when they meet their goals.
The coast of Maine, with its intricate and indented shoreline, is a unique segment of the North Atlantic seaboard. It is renown among sailors for its picturesque beauty, iconic lighthouses, abundant bays and harbors, rocky islands and quiet coves. Our cruising area covers nearly 200 miles of the Maine coast, with countless rivers, bays and islands to explore. The rocky, spruce-covered islands are the summits of a prehistoric mountain range; many generations of inhabitants have made their livelihoods here. Evidence left behind on the islands reveals the historic presence of indigenous Abenaki camps, pre-colonial fishing communities, post-colonial timber and farming operations and early 20th century granite quarries. Cold, nutrient-rich waters flow from the Canadian Maritimes and make the Gulf of Maine home to a wide range of sea birds, seals, porpoises and whales. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.