Broaden your horizons with this 80-day expedition exploring Maine’s forest and river ecosystems and the Bahamas’ subtropical seas.
Follow the traditional routes of the Abenaki and Penobscot people as you canoe through some of Maine’s most remote lakes and rivers. Earn an advanced Wilderness First Aid certification. Backpack through stretches of the northern Appalachian Mountain range. Explore the stunning blue waters of the Bahamas on a 30-foot sailboat. This course is ideal for team-oriented individuals seeking challenge and adventure in unique environments. Throughout this semester you will develop skills needed to travel safely through the wilderness and better understand and appreciate the natural world.
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, Newry, Maine; Meet your group, pack for expedition
Canoe expedition in Maine’s Northwoods region, including whitewater and portaging
Advanced Wilderness First Aid at the Newry Mountain Center
Backpacking, rock climbing and Solo
Clean up, de-issue, gear repair
Environment and Education Service Project
Fly to Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas
Bahamas and boat orientation and expedition pack out
Sailing expedition including snorkeling and exploring the Bahama Bank and archipelagos
Boat and gear clean, Closure, Final Challenge Event, graduation and course closure
Most College Savings Plans, including the 529 College Savings Plan, may be used to attend an Outward Bound expedition, thanks to a partnership with Western Colorado University. Anyone can register – you do not have to be a current Western Colorado University student. Registration is easy! Click here to learn more.
Develop outdoor skills. Enhance your leadership and communication abilities. Strive to increase your knowledge of the environment – all while learning wilderness travel techniques in a variety of stunning environments. The ultimate goal of our Gap Year expeditions is to help you develop the confidence, knowledge, and integrity essential for effective leadership. Whether you are learning how to safely tie in on belay, deciding as a group how to navigate through new terrain, or setting up a minimum-impact campsite for the evening, you’ll be honing and practicing skills for life.
Build skills, form connections: Amidst rugged natural landscapes, learn to lead and to follow; to give and receive feedback; and to trust in your own capabilities as you expand your technical and personal knowledge base. 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, exercise your independence as you gain life experience and learn how to let compassion in to everyday life by pushing your own limits and supporting your crew as you tackle obstacles together, big and small.
Demonstrate mastery: As you gain confidence in new skills and a better understanding of the natural world around you, take on more decision-making responsibilities. Work together to achieve team goals, solve problems and succeed both as independent individuals and as a group.
What you’ll learn: Examine your personal values and discover more about your true self. Hone your technical abilities as you become a master at ropes courses or swiftwater rescue techniques and Wilderness First Aid. Numerous certificates are available depending on the course, and up to 18 credit hours can be earned along the way.
Exploring new environments and building new connections will put your tenacity to the test. You’ll return with broader understanding of the natural world around you, deeper appreciation for small kindnesses and greater confidence in yourself and others that will serve you well long after you return.
Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.
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 in the Androscoggin, Penobscot, Kennebec, or Allagash watershed(s) in Maine’s Northwoods. On the waterways of this five-million-acre forest, students portage (carry the canoes on their shoulders) to get from one waterway into another and line (guide the loaded canoe down the sides of unrunnable rapids). Expedition canoeing in Maine means paddling whitewater. During their canoe expedition students will learn how to scout, paddle and manage open canoes safely in Class II rapids. As they learn to work together, communicate, and coordinate their efforts paddling each day, students discover the power of truly working together as a team.
The Advanced Wilderness First Aid (AWFA) course is a four-day introduction to wilderness medicine that combines classroom time with hands-on practical sessions. Students will learn how to manage injuries/illnesses in the backcountry, setting them up for safe and self-reliant expeditions in the future.
Backpacking is an ideal combination of both team and individual elements, requiring students to dig deep on a personal level while also looking out for other group members. The mountains of Maine and New Hampshire are jagged and densely wooded and the trails are remote, narrow and often steep. Students travel on wilderness footpaths, navigating on and off trail throughout the journey. From atop mountain peaks, if the weather cooperates, the group’s hard work is rewarded with spectacular views across forested landscapes. Living and traveling with just a backpack is a simple existence, in which deceptively small choices can make great differences. To live well in the wilderness, all crew members must share the chores that turn a camp into a home, including setting up tents and tarps, creating a kitchen area, taking turns fetching water, and cooking satisfying meals. Students will also take turns in expeditionary roles, so that they have the opportunity to learn and gain proficiency in a variety of skills.
Northern New England is a renowned climbing destination, and our rock climbing sessions take place at some of the many granite crags and cliffs that make the region so famous. Students learn how to properly use harnesses, helmets, ropes and belay devices, and no prior experience is expected. Participants will start with the basics of tying into the rope, safely belaying each other and practice efficient movement over rock using friction techniques, edging and crack climbing. As students build on their experience and skills, they’ll have the opportunity to develop more advanced climbing techniques, and practice setting up top ropes and building anchors at various climbing sites.
Traditional 30-foot sailboats encourage teamwork and leadership like no other classroom. On an open boat with no cabin and no engine, the group will live closely together using only wind and oars to power their way. As they rotate responsibilities during the expedition, students learn the crafts of maneuvering under sail, coastal navigation, rowing and living aboard a small open boat. At night, students sleep on deck under a tarp, taking turns at anchor watch under brilliant night skies.
On this course, students:
Adjust sails properly for sailing at different angles to the wind and execute sailing maneuvers like tacking and gybing, which turn the boat through the wind
Navigate using a chart and compass to arrive accurately at the day’s destination, using techniques that include taking bearings, dead reckoning, triangulation and sounding
Move the boat under oars, coordinating all of the rowers' movements so that the oars splash as one, precisely maneuvering in and out of secluded anchorages
Live (cook, eat, sleep, work and learn) as a team aboard a small open sailboat, contributing energy and ideas, sharing tasks and responsibilities and relying on each other.
This course ends with a Personal Challenge Event, an individual final physical push. This event might take the form of a timed swim or rowing event, or it may be a combination of the two. The Personal Challenge Event is a chance for students to finish their Outward Bound experience with a true personal challenge where they own all of their decisions and efforts in contrast to the time they have spent operating within an expedition team.
Service projects are often incorporated into Outward Bound courses through coordination with local land managers, conservation groups, government agencies or social service agencies. While in the wilderness, students are encouraged to practice service to the environment and their team by sharing responsibilities and following Recreate Responsibly ethics throughout the expedition.
The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition to give students quiet time to reflect on the Outward Bound experience. With the basics of food and equipment, and with safety a top priority, students will take some time away from the group to be alone at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first parts of the course.
Often located along beautiful lake shorelines and peaceful rivers, or at secluded forest locations, our Solo sites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, or just thinking and resting as they process lessons learned and focus on their goals for the future – and many students spend the time catching up on sleep! Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals. On a Semester program like this one, students will often do more than one Solo, each one lasting somewhere between 24-72 hours.
This semester focuses on developing a solid foundation of expedition skills and a greater understanding of and appreciation for the natural world. While immersed in a challenging wilderness expedition, each student will take on leadership roles. Outward Bound’s curriculum combines the skills necessary to become proficient in wilderness travel with interpersonal skills that will benefit students in any setting. Through a series of different activities, students practice applying general principles in different elements and environments, deepening their understanding of each skill and building greater levels of ability. In addition to being a memorable adventure, this semester promotes situational thinking, individual and group goal setting, evaluation of options and decision-making and flexibility and effectiveness in problem solving.
The mountains of western Maine and northern New Hampshire comprise the northern end of the Appalachian Mountain range. Within this region, the White Mountain National Forest, the Appalachian Trail, the Carter-Mahoosuc Range, the Grafton Loop Trail and the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness all offer classic backpacking terrain. These spruce, fir and hardwood forests are home to hundreds of species of birds as well as moose, deer and black bear. Rushing waterfalls, clear twisting streams and spectacular views from rocky summits reward backpackers ready for adventure.
The upper reaches of the Androscoggin watershed are fed by the 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 and summer living on the coast as well as a source of food. Later the Androscoggin River was used to move logs to mills downstate during the logging boom of the 19th century. These days the lakes and rivers are used primarily by canoeists, fishermen and other recreationalists. Some of the portage trails here, such as those along the Rapid River, have been in use for centuries.
These regions are the ancestral lands of the Wabanaki Confederacy, which includes Abenaki/Abénaquis, W∂last∂kwiyik (Maliseet), Penobscot, and Passamaquoddy nations.
The Bahamas Archipelago is a network of low-lying islands, shallow banks and deep blue waters just across the Gulf Stream from southern Florida. Originally inhabited by peoples moving north through the Caribbean from South America, for much of recorded history these expansive and remote islands served as hideouts for privateers, buccaneers, and pirates for much of recorded history. The British colonized the islands in the 17th century and controlled the trade and commerce of this important waystation in the Atlantic Ocean for many years. Over time, through a series of political and social upheavals, the islands transitioned into a haven for fisherman, woodcutters, salt-exporters and freed slaves from the United States and the Atlantic slave trade - and became an independent state in 1973. Now a destination for sailors seeking stunning and remote cruising grounds and those researching marine ecology, the Bahamas are home to a vibrant ecosystem and diverse culture. These regions are the ancestral lands of the Taino and Lucaya nations.
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.