To Our Students, Families, Program Partners and the Outward Bound Community,
Over this past year, we leaned on the support of the entire Outward Bound community to stay resilient and look onward. Together, we developed a path forward amidst uncertainty. We explored new ways to connect with our educational partners, through virtual programs for students and teachers. We returned to wilderness classrooms, equipped and prepared for a new era of Outward Bound programming.
Since spring, New York City Outward Bound Schools’ classroom-based programs resumed virtually to meet the educational needs of their students and teachers. Over the summer, regional Outward Bound Schools explored virtual programming with community education partners, delivering Outward Bound USA's The Thriving Classroom series. Opportunities for one-day experiences and online social and emotional learning are increasingly available across our network of Schools; from Outward Bound California’s new High Ropes Course to North Carolina Outward Bound School’s Virtual Expedition for middle and high school students. This fall, we celebrated the launch of a new community-based educational partnership in Washington, D.C., led by the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School.
Outward Bound expeditionary programming resumed in September under a robust set of health and safety standards and through the diligent work of field Instructors, program staff and industry partners. New practices for travel to and from course, learning time at basecamp and experiences in the field were woven into each expedition. We welcomed 123 students back to our basecamps in Colorado and Minnesota, successfully running 13 expeditions. Students greeted their Instructors and crew with hands on hearts instead of handshakes and hugs and set off to backpack in the Rocky Mountains, canoe in the Boundary Waters and, most importantly, restore a sense of self and community.
This winter and throughout 2021, we currently plan to offer all of our multi-day, in-person expeditions, including Classic, Intercept, Semester, Pathfinder, Outdoor Educator, Veterans and Grieving Teens. As we have all learned over the past months, the severity of the COVID-19 outbreaks varies greatly by location and current circumstances. Each Outward Bound School will make decisions regarding programming based on many factors including the status of COVID-19 in their region as well as their ability to secure resources to continue operations. We are excited to offer these in-person programs for those students who are ready to get back outdoors with Outward Bound. Find 2021 expeditions here.
Our expeditions may look slightly different this year, as we follow our Enhanced Health and Safety Standards for Outward Bound Expeditions. Visit our COVID-19 Health & Safety Practices page to see what these looks like on course. Please work directly with your School for the most up-to-date and regionally-focused COVID-19 practices.
With support from individual and institutional donors during the pandemic, Outward Bound was able to respond swiftly to the educational needs of our students. Thank you. Our virtual educational programs supporting social and emotional learning will continue for as long as they are needed. Our in-person programs are up and running with enhanced COVID-19 safety standards in place.
Outward Bound USA will continue to assess the evolving situation and adapt as we deliver our educational programs. We look forward to welcoming new students on Outward Bound programming and continuing to serving our communities in 2021.
To our community – our staff, students, families, partners and charitable donors, thank you for your compassion, teamwork and trust in us during this challenging year. We are stronger together.
Josh Brankman Executive Director Outward Bound USA
December 10, 2020
For reliable information on the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the resources below:
The Outward Bound Community is resilient. We will continue to tap into our values, our strengths and lean on one another, with compassion, in the coming weeks and months. We will face this challenge as we teach our students to approach the unknown, with careful assessment, preparation, courage and commitment to the goal and to each other’s success. We are incredibly grateful for your understanding and support.