Has anyone’s child taken an Outward Bound summer course? If so how was their experience?
My daughter did an Outward Bound program in North Carolina a couple of years ago and loved it. Her course was backpacking with some rock climbing. Two weeks, maybe? I would be happy to tell you about it, if you'd like.
My daughter (currently a freshman in college) did a backpacking trip in the Washington Cascades 8/5-8/18 and she loved it. When she came home, she said it was both the hardest thing she has ever done in her life and also the best.
That said, she received a letter about a month ago they had the kids write to themselves and was rather amused at what she wrote, including to never do it again!
And YET, for her afikomen gift this year, she said she'd like to do another Outward Bound trip. She laughingly said, "I know I said I'd never do it again, but I think I would like to do another one."
Here's a link to her trip's photos:
My friend did it about 20 years ago and became an employee, leading trips for 10 years.
wow. Thanks. Those comments make me feel better as a nervous parent. Thanks!
That's funny about the letter, pdg. Ours came addressed to the family, not to my daughter, but she was angry at me for opening it. I felt like that was a bit of a dishonest ploy on the part of Outward Bound. Made it seem like the letter was directed at us, to get us to sign her up again, rather than directed at her, to remind her of the things she found important on the trip.
Unlike most other OB participants, she didn't come back saying it was the hardest thing she'd done in her life, but she really liked it. Even enjoyed the two-night solo.
I use to work for Outward Bound, it is a great program. I don't think there is anything to be nervous about.
@zucca - I think one day her group had to hike something like 18 miles in one day, or they'd run out of food (had to get to the drop spot or something like that.) Their trip route was moved at the very last minute due to the bad smoke from the wild fires last summer, so I think they may not have been quite as organized for her particular trip as they normally were. They were hiking for a long time WAY after dark.
She also said she'd never pack shorts again. She only had 2 pair of pants and wore them constantly and the one day she wore shorts she wound up sliding down a steep, loose-rock area and gouged her leg nicely (she's proud of the scar, of course).
She was very proud of herself at the end of it all; they were definitely pushed further than they'd been pushed before.
Be aware, parents who might consider this for their kid. Your kid needs to be prepared that they will NOT be able to be as hygenic as they normally are. I think that aspect would have freaked me out a little when I was a teenager, although my own daughter was completely unfazed by it.
wow thanks everyone. She signed up for a 9 day sailing trip in Maine. Everyday is on the boat eating cooking sleeping. Np toilet and no shower. Yikes! But she is excited and I am somewhat comfortable with this but still nervous. I hope all will be ok! Thanks again and would love to hear more stories!
@pdg: that sounds rough! She is a tough one and rightly proud of that. I know my daughter's trip was hard, and it ended with a challenging trail run (race?) after all that backpacking, but no interference from natural disasters.
@safetyfirst, we also looked at that trip. It looks beautiful! I'm pretty sure a friend of a friend's child did it. I think privacy was the hardest part. They gave themselves over to the no-shower part pretty easily on my daughter's trip (there was no deodorant allowed on the backpacking trips as it attracts bears, maybe?), but the no toilet, well, pdg's daughter and mine had the woods, at least!
Years ago my son did a hiking/biking/canoeing, etc. trip. They weren't pampered, by any stretch (it was all camping, etc.), but I do think the Outward Bound trips are more purposeful and formative.
How old are these kids? I couldn't imagine going a week without a shower and no toilet if it happened to fall on the wrong part of the month
Imagine it. Then be glad you're only imagining it.
I guess if you're one of those women with a dainty "3 Tbsp" flow, sure. But as someone who suffers from idiopathic menorrhagia and who will bleed through an extra heavy overnight pad with wings in about 1-2 hours for one to two days a month, I don't even want to imagine it.
yes my daughter is concerned about this. She looked at her menstrual calendar and should not be on her period at the time of the trip. We asked outward bound and they said that if it happens they will show her how to deal with it. Oy! It will be an experience for sure!
My daughter was actually offended that the packing list, which is very exacting, said to pack feminine products in ziploc bags that were taped over with duct tape. Like there's some reason the boys can't see unused feminine products? They were also supposed to pack them out, which I later realized has to be the reason for the duct tape, but I'm going to say they were digging holes as it was, so I'm not sure that happened.
They all pack it ALL out, zucca, even their tp. OB takes "leave no trace" very seriously.
And many years ago when my husband did the Maine sailing trip, they had mandatory daily dips each morning. The boat would not move until everyone in the boat had their cleansing dip. Very cold!
Take the no-cotton policy very seriously and look now for any REI sales for their tech gear. They have amazing advisors who can help with light-weight, warm, easy rinse clothing. Warmth was a serious problem for my daughter's group, but my D was warm enough bc her mom is a nut-job who made sure she had the right type of clothing and a sleeping bag liner. Layers can be the difference between sleep and no sleep.
@spontaneous - my D avoided that issue with bc pills; something I highly recommend since bears have good noses and can be a problem in the woods.
@safetyfirst - your child will return a different person with more confidence, independence and self-reliance. It will be hard-earned and will last. Just don't worry - try not to think about her and you'll be fine. She will be very busy and also will be fine!
Not sure how we ended up at the scatalogical, but for my daughter's trip (and confirmed by something online from Outward Bound) toilet paper was buried at the scene. The pee rag (bandana) that lived tied to the outside of the backpack was another story.
Not sure how old your daughter is, @safetyfirst, but chances are nine days on a sailboat with a bunch of kids and no toilet or shower will provide any number of college essays both sublime and ridiculous.
oh my thanks so much for
Along these comments and info!!! Oy! I am excited
For her but also nervous! I will do my research as far as the clothing and I am going to ask OB about the menses situation. I sure hope one of the counselors is female. Thanks again!
my daughter is 14
One of my daughters attended North Carolina during college; it was life changing for her - in a great way.
Her younger sister is currently an OB instructor [a few years now], based in Yosemite - nice gig, right? She loves it and from her descriptions of the courses she leads, it sounds amazing. A lot of challenges for the participants, not just physical; they spend a lot of energy helping kids learn about team work, self discovery,etc. The instructors are well educated in these skills.
Your daughter is very fortunate to have this opportunity come her way!
oh thank you. All the positive stories help me to feel less nervous. Thanks for all the comments I appreciate it! How cool that your daughter works for them! Thanks..,
spontaneous said:How old are these kids? I couldn't imagine going a week without a shower and no toilet if it happened to fall on the wrong part of the month
Pack it in pack it out. I gave the women a ziplock inside a brown paper bag, it's not that big of a deal.
zucca said:Not sure how we ended up at the scatalogical, but for my daughter's trip (and confirmed by something online from Outward Bound) toilet paper was buried at the scene. The pee rag (bandana) that lived tied to the outside of the backpack was another story.
Maybe it has changed but TP was not brought onto the hiking trips, leaves are your friends.
maps said: zucca said:Not sure how we ended up at the scatalogical, but for my daughter's trip (and confirmed by something online from Outward Bound) toilet paper was buried at the scene. The pee rag (bandana) that lived tied to the outside of the backpack was another story. Maybe it has changed but TP was not brought onto the hiking trips, leaves are your friends.
Just remember: Leaves of three, let it be!
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