Due to safety considerations related to COVID-19, we’ve cancelled all overnight programming through the end of 2020, including our Fall wilderness programming.
At this time, we continue to plan for our public school partnerships, day programming, and virtual programs for students and educators in Fall 2020 .
Registration for 2021 wilderness courses will be available in September 2020.
As the situation in our communities continues to evolve, we have improved our Refund and Cancellation Policies to benefit our students.
Dear Students, Families, Alumni, Donors, and the Northwest Outward Bound Community,
At this point in time in a normal summer we would be at our peak in busyness, inspiration, and student impact. Of course, 2020 is anything but normal and we have not had the privilege of serving students since we brought crews in from the field in March. That seems surreal but of course so many aspects of life are right now.
We have been closely monitoring the pandemic and economic reopening process knowing that while we can prepare for resumption of programming, the general pandemic conditions play an outsize role in our ability to operate.Unfortunately, as with our past decisions to cancel Spring and Summer programming, ultimately our high standard of safety and care for staff and students drive this very tough decision, along with our continued commitment to reducing viral spread.
As a result, our Board of Directors has approved, in line with staff recommendation, to continue the suspension of overnight programming through the end of 2020, eliminating our Fall wilderness programming. We do so reluctantly but knowing that this is the appropriate decision for our students, staff, local communities where we operate, and the communities around the country that our students would be traveling from.
While we have ruled out overnight programming, we continue to plan and engage with our public school partnerships, day programming and our pivot to offer virtual formats for students and educators. These formats allow for less travel, and decisions based on local factors which can be made in close collaboration with our partner organizations. We will continue to track local caseloads, reopening requirements, and partner decisions. We yearn to be of service and are working hard to adapt. We may not be able to rock climb, raft or kayak but our amazing instructors can still facilitate character development and social and emotional learning. The medium and methods may be different, but the need is greater than ever given the devastating impacts of the pandemic on our youth.
Our reduced team will remain focused on the future, retaining and rebuilding our strength so that we can more directly and more safely work with students, both in adapted programming this fall and throughout 2021. To ensure that we can best serve youth during this time, we have launched a $500k Resilient Together campaign. For those who can, we ask you to join us in investing in a future that enables us to rise to the new needs of our students.
During this challenging time, it is important to remember our own lessons. On course we know that students grow the most and the quickest during the moments of intense challenge. For NWOBS, this is that time, and this is our course. We are adapting, finding ways to serve and despite the challenges know that we will emerge stronger, more focused, and actively helping this generation of youth navigate the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Thank you for your support during this time, whether it be a donation, an appreciation for our cautious and community-minded approach to programming or a referral to a student who can sign up for 2021 courses in September. I know that we can face this challenge as a community; there is more in us than we know, and we are Outward Bound, resilient together.
Marc Heisterkamp Executive Director Northwest Outward Bound School
View the previous Summer Programming Update from May 21, 2020 HERE
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