Outward Bound for Veterans is a program supported by donations to give them the ability to serve over 600 Veterans each year with no cost incurred by the Veteran. Outward Bound for Veterans helps returning service members and recent Veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.
Service members and Veterans take part in wilderness expeditions that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging in order to build the self-confidence, pride, trust and communication skills necessary to successfully return to their families, employers and communities following wartime service. These expeditions purposefully scaffold wartime experiences (carrying heavy packs, sore shoulders, rubbery legs, sleeping out, strange noises, sweat, dirt, frustration and anger) with authentic achievements to create positive emotional and mental outcomes.
Video of an Outward Bound for Veterans Course for OIF and OEF Veterans:
Wilderness activities are used as metaphors for daily life experiences in the pursuit of individual and group excellence, illuminating how the support and collaboration needed to meet Outward Bound goals can positively impact participants’ interactions with others at home. Many Veterans experienced courage, brotherhood and a real sense of power and competence while in combat. Outward Bound gives Veterans and service members the opportunity to re-experience these strengths in themselves in a different context, thus helping them to transition back to civilian life.
Watch this short video of the 173rd Outward Bound for Veterans Expedition:
Available Outward Bound for Veterans Courses
You can search for upcoming courses at this link: http://www.outwardbound.org/course-finder/… Some courses which have recently been listed were:
- Southwest Rafting for Veterans
- Colorado Rockies Alpine Backpacking for Veterans
- Ten Thousand Islands Canoeing for Veterans
- Outer Banks Sea Kayaking for Veterans
- Veteran’s Appalachian Trail Backpacking and Rock Climbing
- Blue Ridge Mountains Backpacking & Rock Climbing for Veterans
- High Sierra Alpine Backpacking for Veterans
- Oregon River Rafting for Veterans
- San Juan Islands Sea Kayaking for Veterans
- Boundary Waters Canoeing for Veterans
- Oregon Cascades Mountaineering for Veterans
Outward Bound for Veterans courses are open to active duty service members and Veterans of all conflicts who have deployed as a part of their service. All applicants to the Outward Bound for Veterans courses will be asked to verify their service with their DD-214 for Veterans or deployment documentation for active duty military members.
Outward Bound for Veterans welcomes Veterans back to take a second course after their first course has been completed, but are asking that alumni not enroll on two courses in the same year. New this year they are also limiting people to two courses total. Given the limited space available on their courses, priority will always be given to those who have not attended a course with them previously. However, if you have been re-deployed since your last Veterans’ course, you are welcome to apply again and they will reserve a spot on course for you right away.
You can visit the Outward Bound for Veterans website at www.outwardbound.org/veteran-adventures/outward-bound-for-veterans/