On our courses, students experience challenge and adventure and realize they are capable of more than they thought possible.

At our City Skyline Challenge you can experience this first hand by rappelling 23 stories off the Hyatt in downtown San Francisco.  Read on to hear how Outward Bound changes lives everyday in each of our 23 stories of change leading up to this epic event!



#23.  Jim Welsh, Building Our Community

I am very excited to join Outward Bound California in this event to raise funds to provide scholarships to low income youth so that they can benefit from the incredible experience that Outward Bound has to offer.

The money that I raise will be dedicated to Larkin Street Youth Services’ youth. As part of our newly launched comprehensive Learning Center, our youth will participate in Outward Bound excursions, providing youth with opportunities to live healthier lives and learn through outdoor experiences and team building. READ MORE!


“Outward Bound will always have a special place in my heart” say Phil, General Manager of San Francisco Recreation and Parks and Outward Bound Alumni

#21.  Wanyi Chen, High School Adventurer

My name is Wanyi Chen, and I am a senior at Mission High School. I faced a huge challenge when I immigrated to San Francisco. Then I continued to challenge myself by joining Outward Bound. I thought it would be an opportunity for me to try new things and challenge me to be a braver, stronger, and a more outgoing person. I did things that I never got a chance to do in China such as camping, rock climbing, and hiking in the rain. Now, I am preparing to rappel a 23-story building! READ MORE!

#20.  Steve Hagler

Steve Hagler started his career working with recently arrived immigrants in the San Francisco Unified School District. His students had often been through difficult times and often lacked a connection to San Francisco that would allow them to push through the social and economic difficulties they were facing. Then Steve learned about experiential education first-hand through an Outward Bound course.

 Steve recalls his Outward Bound experience in the Sangre de Cristo mountains: “30 days in the mountains gave me a lot of time to think and to internalize how it feels to push through long, hard days and cold windy nights.” READ MORE!

#19.  Rob Eisenbach

OBCA alum, Rob talks about his favorite things about his course and what he took with him from that experience to this day.

#18.  Chunjin Ruan, Youth Leadership Corp Alumnus

My name is Chunjin Ruan. I’m a sophomore at Galileo High School. I live with my parents and an older brother. We have been in San Francisco for three years. As an immigrant family, we brought a small amount of money and crossed the Pacific Ocean all the way to the United States. My parents barely manage to afford a single-room with neither bathroom nor kitchen. A room with a table, a bunk bed, and a sink became our new home. Living in a small room makes me more eager to go out and see the world.

Youth Leadership Corp is a year-long merit based scholarship program that starts off with a 14-day expedition in the Sierras. The greatest part to me is that it is a precious opportunity to go outside of San Francisco. I had never imagined myself climbing real mountains. READ MORE!

#17.  Megan Chadwick

When I was 15, my older sister went on an Outward Bound course.  She spent three weeks hiking in the Colorado wilderness – carrying heavy backpacks, hiking many miles each day, avoiding imminent deadly lightning strikes.  It sounded awful…and I was jealous.  But we lived in Colorado, we went hiking in the mountains all the time – my high school even took us on backpacking trips every year.  I wanted to try something new.  The next year, when it was my turn to choose an Outward Bound course, I decided I wanted to sail and sea kayak in the San Juan Islands in Washington.  I had experience with sailing (I had sailed with my family on vacation) and kayaking (I had taken some river kayaking classes), so I figured this would be a piece of cake.

I was wrong…READ ON!

#16.  Reno Taini

Dr. Reno Taini has been an influential figure in the experiential education movement worldwide.  He was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 1982 by the state of California, and has been featured in numerous publications for his”extraordinary efforts in the field of personal and team development”. He has been called upon by the U.S. State Department and United Nations to provide interventions internationally, and is an Outward Bound Trustee…READ ON!

#15.  Maggie Lyons Weller

At the age of six, I first recognized the change that Outward Bound can make in a person.  My dad, 40 at the time and a commercial real estate agent in Texas, had just returned from a 14 day Outward Bound course in the Rockies and his normally clean shaven face was adorned with a shaggy red beard. While the beard was the biggest change in my 6 year old mind, I also noticed a different look in his eyes and an excitement in how he talked about his ‘camping trip’ and what it meant to him. …READ ON!


Six-time Everest summiter and former Outward Bound Instructor, Luis Benitez shares the big lesson he still carries with him from his days on course.

#13. Anthony Chabino, Recent Alumnus

My name is Anthony. I am 17 years old and am from Redding CA.  I attended Outward Bound’s two-week Sierra rock climbing course in August 2013. During this course, we backpacked through mountainous terrain, carrying loaded packs in excess of 45 pounds. Though the Sierra mountain views were breath taking, at times it was very strenuous and demanding to reach each day’s destination and campsite. READ MORE!



#12. Caitlin Brown, Instructor Perspective

As instructors, one of our most first responsibilities is to create this compassionate safe space.  We can teach this in a variety of ways—through evening meeting structure, conflict resolution skits and Outward Bound history and philosophy lessons.  Ultimately though, it is the students who have to put what we teach into practice.  My students this summer were courageous and compassionate individuals who together formed two inspiring crews.  The safe space they created allowed for them to share their thoughts and feelings openly. READ MORE!

#11. Phu Ly, 28 Day Multi-Challenge in 1990, City Skyline Challenge Rappeller in 2014!

Phu Ly grew up in Portland, Maine and at the age of 17 received a full scholarship to complete “the most challenging expedition of my life.” She attended a 28-day Outward Bound course consisting of backpacking, canoeing, white water canoeing, sailing, rock climbing, and soloing in the wilderness of Maine. READ MORE!

#10. Sophie Guerin

As a teenager, I had incredible energy and passion but lacked an outlet to direct and channel that enthusiasm. Despite participating in a number of after school activities, I found myself frustrated by a lack of a serious challenge. I considered joining the Army, but the more I learned about a career in the armed services, the more I realized that this challenge was not the type of holistic environment I was looking for. READ MORE!

#9. Mike Byrnside, Outward Bound Veteran Alumni

I arrived to the Outward Bound program lost and with an unclear mind after suffering multiple traumatic events over the last 6 years.  I failed to take care of myself mentally and took to avoidance as a means  of “dealing” with it.  Outward Bound California was recommended to me by my PTSD counsellor but just didn’t feel as though I was ready until this month.

I came with many self doubts and multiple boiling points.  I leave with a much clearer mind and a plan for the future neither of which I came with.  The course was life changing, I have forgiven myself of thing that were never in my control and I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

#8. Benson Njau, Outward Bound Kenja Instructor – OBCA volunteer

In the video below, Ben remembers taking students up to the “roof of Africa” Mt. Kilimanjaro and the impact it had on student’s relationship and responsibility to nature. Now he volunteers at Outward Bound California and hopes to instruct again here in the US.

#7. Megan Marie Ford
Megan Ford is originally from Stuart, FL and had the opportunity to participate in an Outward Bound sailing course when she was 16 years old. Fast forward to today and she’s a successful businesswoman at a well known Bay Area company, and she still attributes part of her success to this life-changing experience on course. Here’s her story:
My breakthrough moment in Outward Bound was when I was put in charge of the “sails up” process on Day 2.  I’ve sailed most of my life, so this doesn’t sound now like much of an event – but I remember it being very challenging at the time! READ MORE!
#6. Jerry Brent Moss, Sr.

Jerry Brent Moss, Sr. is an alumni of the original Outward Bound School located near Marble, Colorado. He attended the school in the summer of 1967 at the age of 17, an experience that changed his life forever.

Moss’ older brother had gone on a course one year prior, only three years after Outward Bound expanded to the US.  Moss had a leadership example that he felt he had to follow. Through the Gene Epply North Omaha Boys Club,  he was one of two people chosen to represent the school and received a scholarship, in part sponsored by Warren and Susan Buffet. READ MORE!

#5. Diego Velasquez, Outward Bound Vets Course Alumni

Diego Velasquez was always taught to appreciate life and to not take things for granted.

After many years serving around the world in the U.S. military, he did not assume that each person he would meet would be kind and caring. Diego had become pessimistic in his expectations of society as he’d experienced too many mean and stressed out people.

However, his perspective was changed when he was given the opportunity to participate in an Outward Bound course via scholarship. He was beyond humbled that strangers “were  willing to fund such a wonderful program so that veterans like [him] can find peace, unite with other veterans, share stories, laugh, cry and most of all feel like our service [was] been worthwhile!” READ ON!

#4. Sean Webby, reporter for San Jose Mercury News

For years, I had long, thin, faint, and then fainter, scars on my upper back and shoulders. I took pride in them and never said what they were from, hoping it would make me seem mysterious, for a Manhattanite anyway. They were from ropes. Specifically, they were sailboat ropes, the kind that have nicknames like “halyard” and “bobstay.” During the gale, they writhed around the deck like eels and lashed me as I rowed, and Billy stooped over me and hollered in my right ear what exactly was a stake. Dear life…READ ON!

#3. Rue Mapp

As founder of Outdoor Afro. Rue found inspiration and strength on her Outward Bound expedition as a young adult. This experience affirmed her resolve to help shift the visual representation of who can connect with the outdoors and increase the number of African Americans who participate in activities in nature.  Hear the story in her own words in the video below!

#2.  Cecilia Culverhouse

Outward Bound was a transformational experience, which I’m sure you hear from alumni often. My high school used to require all freshman to spend a week Outward Bound canoeing in the Florida Everglades’ Thousand Islands.

My transformational moment happened during discord with my canoe mate Jason. I couldn’t swing my canoe around in the face of Gulf gusts to safely pick him up. He fell in freezing water and when he got in the canoe, he screamed…READ ON!


While growing up in Watts, a rough neighborhood of Los Angeles, Luis jumped at the opportunity to go on an Outward Bound Course —a 22-day mountaineering expedition in the High Sierra— when a guidance counselor told him about the Pinnacle Scholarship Program