In an online survey earlier this year, we asked our alums whether Outward Bound’s new mission statement—“to change lives through challenge and discovery”—was reflective of your experience. We wanted to share the results with you because they were really illuminating and inspirational!
The vast majority of you replied that this mission statement resonated with you. And fifty-three of you provided commentary to illustrate what your experience was like. There were a lot of commonalities, as you can see in the chart below (which shows the number of times each theme was mentioned):
Here’s what the themes were all about:
- Self-discovery: You shared how your Outward Bound experience helped you discover who you truly were; what you were truly capable of; what goals and values were most important to you in life; and how you behaved under duress.
- Confidence / strength: Many of you wrote about having a new sense of self-confidence or personal strength as a result of your Outward Bound experience.
- Relationships / leadership / teamwork: Many of you found that Outward Bound strengthened your ability to communicate effectively with others, lead others and achieve goals as a team—both on your course and after your course, when back in the ‘real world.’
- Opened eyes / expanded world: Several of you wrote about your Outward Bound experience opened your eyes or expanded your world to include new ideas, new behaviors, new people and new possibilities.
- Perseverance: Often you wrote about learning to persevere and overcome significant mental and physical challenges. You often related this back to a greater sense of confidence and strength.
- Appreciation for natural world: Many of you alluded to the fact that your Outward Bound course inspired you to have a new appreciation for the natural world. Many also shared that this has led you to be involved in outdoor activities to this day.
You all shared some really great anecdotes with us around how your Outward Bound experiences affected you. There are far too many to post, but to whet your appetite, here are a few that stood out:
“The deepest part of the challenge and discovery in my Outward Bound experience was in relation to my sense of self, my place within and ability to interact with others in a group setting, and my relative flexibility and adaptability which enabled growth both during the course of the trip and for a long time afterwards. I do feel like it was life changing.”
– A 41-50 year old who went on a 4-8 day sailing expedition as an adult. Coded as: relationships, self-discovery.
“I am 52 now and I went on OB as part of the Athenian School Wilderness Experience requirement to graduate – I had done a lot of hiking before, but OB was different. My mantra since has been, ‘I survived Outward Bound, I can totally do _______’.”
– A 52 year old who went on a 15-29 day multi-element expedition as a teen. Coded as: strength, perseverance.
“I felt my Outward Bound experience challenged me in ways that I would have never contemplated before entering this extreme experience. It taught me how to rely on myself and to be confident in my own abilities. I also gave me a great sense of what it takes to be successful in a very challenging world. I will never forget the experiences that I had the people I met and the feeling of accomplishment I had when it was all said and done. Sometimes people do not know what they are truly capable of until they are faced with the challenge.”
– A 31-40 year old, who went on a 15-29 day multi-element expedition as a teen. Coded as: confidence; self-discovery.
Want to share your Outward Bound story with us too? Fill out our online survey or leave a comment below.