Below you will find important information for your time with the Northwest Outward Bound School. Please read all course details thoroughly and reach out to your Course Advisor if you have any questions as you prepare. You can find your specific Course Information here.
Adopting a daily exercise routine is not easy and it can be challenging to find the motivation. But every minute you put in prior to your course will pay off once you get out there. We recommend putting in the time to train prior to your course. Exercising three times a week for 30 minutes is the minimum, five or six times for 30-60 minutes a week is optimum.
Please contact your Course Advisor to learn about specific training needed for your course activities. It is always a good idea to consult your physician before starting any fitness program.
Adopt Healthy Habits
A great way to prepare physically is to adopt healthy eating habits and focus on being well-hydrated.
Arrive at your course start well rested.
Reduce consumption of fatty foods, excessive alcohol and caffeine, as these substances require a lot of water and oxygen to metabolize.
Eat plenty of unrefined carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains).
Drink water regularly and whenever you’re thirsty, instead of juice or soda.
If you use tobacco, please prepare to be on course without it as we do not allow any form of drugs or alcohol on course.
Mental and Social Preparation
Below are a few important things we suggest preparing for mentally prior to your Outward Bound course:
Be ready to be part of a team. Think about other team experiences you have had in the past whether they are sports teams, school plays or business meetings. Come up with a few observations about what has made your teams successful in the past and plan on being a positive contributor during your course.
Living with Less
Look around your house and the “real” world and think about what you have and what you need. Things you currently take for granted like hot running water, upholstered furniture and sidewalks will not be part of your experience. When you get the rhythm of wilderness living, you will see that despite the complexity of your everyday life, life on the trail and life at home are both ultimately about food, clothing, shelter and each other. We will also ask you to leave behind non-essentials like deodorant, make up, electronic devices and books.
Being Away from Home
Whether it is the first or the 27th time you have been away from home for a long period of time, you might not have been this out of touch before. The feeling of being alone and away from family might not happen immediately but in a lot of cases it will occur while on course. Please use your instructors and teammates as resources as they are there for help. If you think you might feel homesick, let us know. We can help you come up with some ideas to address it.
Compassion is one of Outward Bound’s core values. Be prepared to offer it and expect it from your teammates. You will travel with and rely on a group of strangers each of whom have different reasons for attending Outward Bound and will come with varying levels of physical and mental strength. You may find that you will need to make compromises in your own expectations to support other members of your team. It is important to remember that in such a small group setting, your attitude and actions affect everyone.
Outward Bound delivers learning, in large part, by discussing course experiences. By considering the experience through group discussion before and after, you are more able to hold onto the value of each experience and take it home with you. Be prepared to share your perspective and gain insight from others on your expedition.
Vector-borne Disease Information
In recent times in North America, one risk that we face in the wilderness environment is the transmission of vector-borne illnesses (from mosquito and tick bites). Outward Bound is working hard every day to educate and protect against vector-borne illness transmission. While there is no complete protection from a mosquito or tick bite, or the illnesses they may transmit, whether you are in the wilderness or in your backyard, we hope the information and recommendations in the document below will help you prepare for course.
Maintaining health and well-being in the wilderness is important, and outdoor hygiene is taught on every course. Please read this Personal Hygiene on Coursedocument for more information about what to expect for general hygiene and what to bring for menstruation.
Mail On Course
We understand that family and friends may want to send letters and care packages to students while they are on course. Due to the remote nature of our courses in the wilderness, and the fact that most of our courses do not spend time at our base camps, it can be very difficult to get mail to students and they may not receive mail until course end.
Below are some guidelines and timelines to follow if you wish to send students mail:
Our programs are designed to be physically, emotionally and mentally challenging. The courses are consistently fun and engaging for students, but they may also experience feelings of hesitation, homesickness or frustration. These feelings arise from being outside of their comfort zone, which is where we believe that real learning takes place. As a parent or guardian, your encouragement in the time leading up to the course can be the key to your student’s success while on course.
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