A typical day usually means getting up early, making breakfast, taking down shelters, planning the route and then traveling most of the day, stopping occasionally for breaks, lunch and lessons along the way. Once you reach that day’s destination, group members divide and conquer to get dinner cooked and shelters set up. After dinner you may meet to discuss the next day’s plans, or to discuss leadership and teamwork methods before crawling into your sleeping bag for a well-deserved rest. What do we do on days when it rains? It’s the same, with rain gear on.
Because this is an experiential course and not a guided trip, all group members will pitch in to do all camp chores, including cooking, washing pots, setting up tents and organizing food and equipment. You’ll find that as the expedition progresses, your mastery of these camp craft skills will enable you to operate more efficiently and effectively around camp. Students participate in cleaning and repairing equipment at course end, readying it for use by the next group.
Living and working with a small group is an opportunity to make lifelong friends and create memories that will last a lifetime. It is also often a source of friction and challenge. You may feel frustration or annoyance with your teammates at times as your group attempts to set and meet your goals, and make decisions big and small. Our students are diverse in their backgrounds and previous experience, and everyone reacts to challenges differently. It is essential to come ready to work as a team, be inclusive, offer help to others, and ask for it when you need it! All courses are co-ed unless otherwise published, but there is no guarantee that a course will attract a mixed gender group. All students are thoroughly screened and we make every effort to ensure that all participants are capable of attending, contributing to and successfully completing their course.
Though showering and washing hair are typically not options during course, groups carry soap with them and hand washing is a daily routine. Students may bring sanitary wipes for personal use. Each course environment has its own appropriate hygiene practices, and the instructors will explain these at the beginning of your course. Every course environment has different techniques and environmentally appropriate practices for going to the bathroom. You will learn how to dispose of human waste in latrines, cat holes and other wilderness-area specific methods.
All students take turns preparing hot, tasty meals on Outward Bound courses, initially with coaching from the instructors. The foods are mainly vegetarian; consisting of grains, pasta, nuts, beans, fruit and cereals. A typical breakfast might be granola or oatmeal; lunch could include tortillas and cheese, or peanut butter and jam on crackers; dinner might be macaroni and cheese or beans and rice. We can accommodate some allergies, dietary requirements and restrictions such as some nut allergies, gluten-free and lactose intolerance. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis so please let your Course Advisor know well in advance.
Students are not allowed to have cell phones or other technology on course however they may bring them for use during air travel on the first and last days of course. These items will be collected at the beginning of course and will be returned at course end. Please bring a power cord to use at that time. Students under 18 are encouraged to text or call their parents/guardians as soon as they get service on departure day.
Students are allowed to bring cameras as long as they are not part of a cell phone and use them on course, however each course will have a group camera that students may use so bringing a personal camera is not required.
Instructors carry satellite phones and maintain daily communication with base camp. You can learn more about communication, safety and risk management by clicking here.
Why No Technology?
We recognize how difficult not having technology (especially a cell phone) can be for both students and their families. These days we are all accustomed to instant communication and the comfort of knowing someone is safe after receiving a quick text or call. Despite that knowledge, we choose to have no technology on course because of the myriad benefits that come with a tech-free experience. Outward Bound students learn to engage with their peers and initiate creative activities during down time, are able to be immersed in the experience, focus on the here and now, reduce homesickness, reset behavior patterns, gain independence, and develop increased self-control among many other benefits.
Generally speaking, our courses take place in extremely remote locations with little access. For that reason we are only able to get written updates with photos rarely during course. Instructors are able to communicate with their base camps through satellite phones however base camps only communicate with our head office when something extraordinary happens. For this reason, we operate on a “no news is good news” basis. We recognize this may be very different from the frequent communication you have with your student in normal daily living however we hope you will rest assured that our instructors and staff working around the clock to ensure the safest experience for every student.
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