Connect and team up with other members of the LGBTQ community to tackle an adventure of a lifetime in the misty mountains of Western North Carolina.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are some of the oldest in the world and are home to hundreds of waterfalls, diverse flora and fauna, over a million acres of national forest, park and public land, unique rock formations and the highest peaks in the Eastern United States. All of these dramatic landscapes create the perfect backdrop for this backpacking and rock climbing course.
This is a traditional Outward Bound course with an added focus on LGBTQ themes. During a time of development, when LGBTQ youth may not have supportive or safe space, this course builds self-esteem and community, and creates opportunities to make lifelong friends.
On this journey, your crew will backpack through temperate rainforests and wildflower fields, test your communication skills while learning to rock climb, discover new leadership skills using a map and compass, and foster community as you make meals and set up camp under the stars each night.
Students should also expect a progression of activities to initiate personal growth and conversation about shared experiences as LGBTQ youth. We will spend time having guided discussions surrounding LGBTQ topics, as well as individual reflection, while embracing the affirming and healing powers of the wilderness.
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. Expeditions are led by LGBTQ+ Instructors, and aim 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. 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.
For detailed information on course availability statuses and what they mean,
Thank you for your interest in Outward Bound!
This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
APPLY NOW This means a course has several open spots and is actively processing applications.
APPLY NOW – Almost Full This means there are three or fewer currently available spots left on a course. To secure your spot click Apply Now to begin an application!
JOIN WAITLIST Once a course has reached capacity, three waitlist positions become available. To join a course’s waitlist, click “Join Waitlist” to begin the application process. A $500 deposit is required. This $500 deposit includes a $150 non-refundable application fee and a $350 tuition payment. The $350 tuition payment is refundable only if you cancel your waitlist application or if an open position does not become available. If a position does become available, the applicant will be applied to the open position and the Application and Cancellation Policies of the Regional Outward Bound School will be followed, including forfeiture of the $500 deposit if you cancel 90 days or less prior to the course start date.
Waitlist applicants are encouraged to complete all required admissions documents while awaiting an open position. Positions may become available up to two weeks prior to the course start date. Applicants may only apply to one course. We recommend applying to a course with open positions instead of a course that is accepting waitlist applications. If you have questions, please call 866-467-7651 to speak with one of our Admissions Advisors.
CALL TO APPLY This means a course is very close to its start date. Although it is unlikely to secure a spot this late, you can call the National Admissions office at 866-467-7651 to discuss your options.
COURSE IS FULL When a course has reached maximum capacity, meaning all spots and the three waitlist spots are occupied, a course will read “Course Is Full.” This means applications are no longer being accepted.
CLOSED As a course nears its start date, the availability status may read “Closed.” In this event, a course roster has been finalized and applications are no longer being accepted or processed.
Course start; duffle shuffle; learning camp-craft
Backpacking; training expedition: learning navigation and safety skills
Rock climbing: climbing, belaying, rappelling, high ropes course or traverse
Backpacking; final expedition: leadership and group independence
Personal Challenge Event; clean and de-issue gear; graduation ceremony
It’s time to make your own adventure. Outward Bound’s Classic expeditions for middle and high school students are built with you in mind. Make new friends, sleep under the stars, and learn skills like backcountry navigation and how to cook a delicious meal no matter where you are. You’ve got this! Whether you’re in a raft or on a mountainside, you’ll learn what you’re made of – and you’ll see first-hand how far teamwork can take you. Join us for an unforgettable challenge and discover a whole new way to get outside.
Build skills, form connections: Learn and practice wilderness, teamwork and leadership skills. Find connections with your crewmates based on support and respect (and fun too!), and in the thick of challenges, discover there is more in you than you know.
Value strengths and strengthen values: Uncover your unique character strengths, develop your leadership abilities and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and working alongside your peers.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Your connections matter – working together to navigate challenges will quickly turn your crewmates into friends. Together, you’ll find opportunities to carry more weight (literally and figuratively) and make impactful decisions with accompanying consequences. It’s all about confidence, communication, and independence.
After you come home, many of the character, leadership and service traits you uncovered on your expedition stay with you, helping you navigate your daily life with more resilience and success.
Students will be backpacking in Pisgah National Forest where they will learn how to travel through the backcountry, how to navigate varied terrain with a map and compass and how to do these activities responsibly using Leave No Trace principles. Equally important will be time spent learning conflict resolution skills, communication styles, how to lead and how to be a team player. After the crew has practiced these skills, their Instructors will step back and let the group work together to lead their own way through the wilderness where they will be rewarded with stunning, misty mountain vistas.
With a focus on safety, climbing instruction will start by teaching the basics, such as working with ropes and learning to tie knots. As students progress, they will learn how to climb up or rappel down a rock face. They may even have the opportunity to work through a high ropes obstacle course together. These uniquely structured activities provide opportunities not only for self-reliance, but also for communication and collaboration as participants confront and work through their fears.
Service to others and the environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Participants follow Leave No Trace ethics as service to the environment and do acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. As they see the impact of their actions firsthand, students develop a value of service, and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home. On longer courses, students have the opportunity to do a formal service project with a local agency. Common projects include doing trail work, helping at local food pantries and other local non-profit organizations. Service projects can be a few hours up to a full day.
A little more than halfway through course, students will participate in a reflection period called Solo. During this time, Instructors assign students their own individual spaces within a designated area. These sites are both secluded and within hearing distance of other group members and Instructors for safety. Students will be given all the necessary gear, food, water and skills to enjoy this time alone. Solo is a great opportunity for students to relax, recharge and reflect on their course after having long days of strenuous group activities. They also know the location of their Instructors should they need to contact them for any reason. Instructors will be monitoring students closely during this experience.
Acquire a taste for adventure. Courses less than 14-days in length provide a perfect introduction to the Outward Bound experience; reminding students of their connection to nature and leaving them feeling inspired to take on real challenge. Through these condensed experiences, students become comfortable living and working together in the wilderness while practicing the Four Pillars of Outward Bound; craftsmanship, self-reliance, physical fitness, and compassion. They also create a solid foundation of skill sets that they can further build upon once off course.
The Blue Ridge Mountains, or Southern Appalachians, is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. While the mountains themselves formed over 250 million years ago, some of the rocks that underlie the region are over a billion years old.
The long geologic and evolutionary history of the Southern Appalachians has created one of the most biologically diverse regions in the modern world; some even say it is “rainforest-like.” This region is home to beautiful rushing rivers, hundreds of waterfalls and some of the highest peaks in the Eastern United States—including Mt. Mitchell (elevation 6,684 feet), the highest point east of the Mississippi River. The area’s diverse landscapes have been featured in many motion pictures including The Hunger Games and The Last of the Mohicans.
Outward Bound students can expect to share the wilderness with over 700 different kinds of trees, more than 50 types of mammals, 150 different types of birds and over 50 species of amphibians. The huge numbers of tree and plant life is actually what gives these mountains their namesake. Trees put the ‘blue’ in the Blue Ridge Mountains from the organic chemicals they release into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to the distinctive color of these mountains.
Temperatures in this area range between 50 and 85 degrees in the summer, 30 to 65 degrees in the spring and fall and 10 to 50 degrees in the winter. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Cherokee.
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If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.
To secure your spot on a course you must submit an enrollment form and $500 deposit that is applied toward the total cost of the course and includes a $150 non-refundable enrollment processing fee.