On this six-day canoeing expedition designed specifically for veterans, the picturesque waterways of western Maine serve as both home and learning community.
This course is ideal for veterans seeking a fresh challenge in a unique wilderness environment and a collaborative team setting. In a phased teaching progression, Instructors will introduce beginning, intermediate and advanced skills in lake navigation, paddling technique, woods craftsmanship, weather observation and campsite setup. Regular group discussions allow for reflection on each day’s progress, and ensure that leadership and onboard responsibilities are shared so that every crew member is integral to planning the next day. Through living and working closely together, students will learn far more than wilderness travel skills.. The habits learned and strengthened through this canoeing expedition will help veterans with a successful transition back to their families, communities and careers.
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Outward Bound Veterans expeditions build on camaraderie and the challenge of the natural world as a pathway to healing. These expeditions encourage participants to connect with existing strengths and bond with fellow veterans in a safe, positive, mission-driven environment. As they harness the power of wartime experiences like carrying heavy packs, moving fatigued muscles and sleeping outside, these courses help build the self-confidence and sense of purpose veterans need to continue serving as leaders in their families, communities and the nation.
Build core skills: Veterans receive hands-on training on expedition and personal skills. As part of an inclusive, supportive crew, they gain communication skills, establish trust and validate experiences among other veterans.
Practice Outward Bound values: Instructors focus on Outward Bound core values like compassion, integrity, excellence, inclusion and diversity to help veterans reflect, share insights and live in the present moment.
Process and Reflect: Journaling, one-on-one and group discussions help veterans understand how Outward Bound experiences might translate to coping skills back home.
What participants learn: Veterans return home inspired, ready to tap into rediscovered strengths and eager to find new ways to contribute to society.
Wilderness canoe expedition skills are the mark of a New England outdoorsperson. In the foothills of Maine’s mountains are networks of remote lakes and rivers. Students learn to maneuver canoes using paddle strokes such as the sweep, draw, pry and J-stroke. To get from one waterway into another, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders), and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of unrunnable rapids). As they learn to work, communicate well and coordinate efforts as paddling partners each day, students discover the power of two people truly working together.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While on expedition, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin watershed is fed by Aziscohos Lake, the Magalloway River and the Rangeley Lakes. Indigenous Abenaki peoples used the Androscoggin as both a means of transportation between winter habitats inland, summer living on the coast and as a source of food. Later the Androscoggin River was used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the nineteenth century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fisherman and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries.