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Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization with five core programs that change lives, build teams, and transform schools. We deliver adventure and challenge in the wilderness, urban settings, workrooms, and classrooms to help students achieve their possibilities, and to inspire them to serve others and to care for the world around them.
In 1941, a progressive German educator named Kurt Hahn, along with a British shipping baron named Sir Lawrence Holt, founded the first Outward Bound school in Aberdovey, Wales. The term Outward Bound is the nautical term used to describe a ship leaving the safety of its harbor to head for open seas. The school originated with a very specific mission to instill greater self-reliance and spiritual tenacity in young British seamen being torpedoed by German U-boats and strayed from conventional teaching methods. Hahn found that people in challenging, adventurous situations gained confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance and developed a spirit of camaraderie with their peers. With a curriculum based on the belief that character development was equally important to academic achievement, Outward Bound became a true authority in experiential learning in the post-war era. This groundbreaking educational program reached the US through an American named Josh Miner in the early 1960s. Inspired by this innovative philosophy and teaching model, Miner started the Outward Bound movement in the US based upon the founding principles of hands-on learning through challenging experiences - the same principles that are intact today. Outward Bound continues to excel in its long-standing tradition of using the wilderness as a setting for self-discovery; however, its influence goes far beyond the wilderness. Outward Bound programs touch the lives of more people than ever before, today reaching more than 60,000 young people each year through experiential learning programs that are run in the wilderness, in urban centers, in boardrooms and in the classrooms of America.
While Outward Bound programs have evolved from those conceived by Kurt Hahn over 60 years ago, the five core principles are still central to each and every program. These are:
* Challenge and Adventure
Challenge is an action that requires special effort. Adventure is an exciting and remarkable experience that involves uncertain outcomes and acceptable risks. Coupled with careful instruction and preparation, Outward Bound instructors and staff encourage participants to build individual self-esteem and selfreliance through responsible risk-taking and hands-on involvement.
* Compassion and Service
Service is an active expression of valuing our common humanity, our diversity, and the natural world. Compassion is a heartfelt caring connection to each other and the world around us. Compassionate behaviors and a service ethic encompass both giving and receiving. Outward Bound teaches compassion through active participation within a team structure and through service projects.
* Social and Environmental Responsibility
Social and environmental responsibility instills in students a sense of integrity that results in choices and actions that have a positive effect on society and the environment.
* Character Development
Character development means developing capacities of mind, body, and spirit to better understand one?s responsibilities, to self, others, and community.
Key areas of development are:
- Physical fitness
- The ability to go beyond self imposed limitations
- Acceptance of responsibility
Learning through experience is an educational process based on action and reflection. Experiences are intentionally designed, presented, and reflected upon to instill values and promote skill mastery.
- Kelly Unger
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