Outward Bound celebrates its Golden Anniversary on June 16, 2012, marking the first expedition on U.S. soil and the launch of an entire movement in outdoor education and adventure travel.

After 50 years as an industry-leader, its mission has not changed: to inspire character development and self-discovery in people of all ages and walks of life. In today’s environment of Nature Deficit Disorder and Failure to Launch Syndrome, the non-profit’s wilderness programs are more relevant than ever.


Outward Bound’s dynamic programs continue to meet the ever-changing needs of new generations and the unique challenges they face.


“We teach through the wilderness, not about the wilderness,” said interim executive director and spokesperson for Outward Bound, Whitney Montgomery. “Outward Bound is about metaphors, so students experience what it takes to overcome a challenge successfully, and then we facilitate a debrief so they can take this back to their homes, communities and schools. It’s this transition from practical wilderness application to real life that makes Outward Bound so powerful.”

Outward Bound offers a wide range of courses across the United States and Internationally, focusing on their classic wilderness expeditions for youth and adults. Outward Bound also offers semester and instructor courses and the opportunity to earn a variety of industry certifications such as Wilderness First Responder and American Red Cross Lifeguarding.

Outward Bound began in the United States in the early 1950’s, when American Josh Miner, a student under progressive German educator Kurt Hahn, brought Hahn’s philosophy and teaching model to the United States. Miner founded Outward Bound based on the principles of hands-on learning through outdoor adventure, creating the first U.S.-based school in 1961, and launching the first U.S.-based course in June 1962, in the Colorado Rockies. Since then, the Outward Bound model has blazed the trail for the outdoor education industry. Today Outward Bound has more than one million alumni, 18 charter schools and centers and over 15,000 active students per year.

“It's the education you won't find within walls of a classroom,” said former Outward Bound student and instructor, and current Outward Bound Outreach Manager, Jason Stout, “The programs we offer provide the kind of education that prepares [students] to confidently meet the expected and unexpected challenges of life.”