The LGBTQ+ Pinnacle Course Overview

The program provides full-tuition scholarships for highly motivated LGBTQ+ youth to attend an Outward Bound wilderness course.

Outward Bound  LGBTQ+ courses are designed for LGBTQ+ teens to build community and cultivate self-efficacy through service-learning, leadership development, and self-discovery in natural environments. This course is staffed with Instructors who have lived experiences with and demonstrated support for the LGBTQ+ community. Staff strive to create a safe space for teens who have experienced being marginalized due to their identity, and/or are exploring their sexual and/or gender identity to build community and cultivate self-efficacy. Students should expect a traditional Outward Bound course structure, where they’ll learn technical skills and take responsibility for daily activities, while also developing relationships and building community with other LGBTQ+ youth.               

Who Qualifies

  • Identify as LGBTQ+
  • Between ages 14-17 while on course
  • Would not be able to attend course without a scholarship
  • Really excited to attend an Outward Bound course (needs to be motivated by the applicant - not parents or mentors)

If you meet the above criteria, you can apply!

Prior to filling out the application, please review:

Applications for 2022 are open now, open until filled - you can complete the application here!


2022 Course Details

Course Location: High Sierra

Course dates: July 27 - August 9, 2022

Activities: Backpacking


What's Included in the Scholarship

  • Travel stipend up to $300
  • Boots + socks to keep!
  • The entire expedition
  • A lot of the items on the packing list to borrow



Other Options

If this course doesn't work, but you need financial assistance to attend course - check out our other financial aid/scholarship opportunities here. The YLC program is also a totally free, merit-based program. Our Challenge Course in San Francisco also has free community days which you can register for here.


Why the Program Matters

The Outward Bound Pinnacle Scholarship program is guided by a single principle: every person should be given the opportunity to experience adventure and challenge, develop character and compassion, and learn social and environmental responsibility, regardless of ability to pay. It is Outward Bound California's vision to open access to safe, transformational outdoor experiences and green spaces to students from economically vulnerable communities and communities of color or other non-dominant identities.

Hundreds of studies demonstrate the benefits of challenging youth in outdoor settings to improve physical and mental health, improve school test scores, reduce stress, increase self-confidence and awareness, improve conflict resolution skills and foster community leaders and environmental stewards.

A recent call-to-action from Grant Makers in Health highlights a number of studies that show that the link between outdoor access, “and positive health outcomes was stronger for people with low socioeconomic status and living in communities most negatively impacted by systemic racism, trauma, opportunity gaps, and other challenges.”  

These benefits are all the more valuable and life-changing for young people who may experience barriers to get outdoors.

The Pinnacle Scholarship Program is underwritten by a $250,000 gift spread over five years from a grateful alumnus and his family, who want to make the Outward Bound experience accessible to youth from underserved communities that have been historically excluded from outdoor experiences, have suffered disproportionately through the COVID-19 pandemic, and face systemic injustice and racism. Current funding supports approximately 10 full-paid Pinnacle Scholars per year. Outward Bound California is seeking community support to grow that number significantly within 3 years. 

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