Listen to Mahogany talk about what she learned about herself on course.
WHILE on Course
A typical day usually means getting up early, making breakfast, taking down shelters, planning the route and then traveling most of the day, stopping occasionally for breaks, lunch and lessons along the way. Once you reach that day’s destination, group members divide and conquer to get dinner cooked and shelters set up. After dinner you may meet to discuss the next day’s plans, or to discuss leadership and teamwork methods before crawling into your sleeping bag for a well-deserved rest. What do we do on days when it rains? It’s the same, with rain-gear on.
Because this is an experiential course and not a guided trip, all group members will pitch in to do all camp chores, including cooking, washing pots, setting up tents and organizing food and equipment. You’ll find that as the expedition progresses, your mastery of these camp craft skills will enable you to operate more efficiently and effectively around camp. Students participate in cleaning and repairing equipment at course end, readying it for use by the next group.
Living and working with a small group is an opportunity to make lifelong friends and create memories that will last a lifetime. It is also often a source of friction and challenge. You may feel frustration or annoyance with your teammates at times as your group attempts to set and meet your goals, and make decisions big and small. Our students are diverse in their backgrounds and previous experience, and everyone reacts to challenges differently. It is essential to come ready to work as a team, be inclusive, offer help to others, and ask for it when you need it! All courses are co-ed unless otherwise published, but there is no guarantee that a course will attract a mixed gender group. All students are thoroughly screened and we make every effort to ensure that all participants are capable of attending, contributing to and successfully completing their course.
Though showering and washing hair are typically not options during course, groups carry soap with them and hand washing is a daily routine. Students may bring sanitary wipes for personal use. Each course environment has its own appropriate hygiene practices, and the instructors will explain these at the beginning of your course. Every course environment has different techniques and environmentally appropriate practices for going to the bathroom. You will learn how to dispose of human waste in latrines, cat holes and other wilderness- area specific methods.
All students take turns preparing hot, tasty meals on Outward Bound courses, initially with coaching from the instructors. The foods are mainly vegetarian; consisting of grains, pasta, nuts, beans, fruit and cereals. A typical breakfast might be granola or oatmeal; lunch could include tortillas and cheese, or peanut butter and jam on crackers; dinner might be macaroni and cheese or beans and rice. We can accommodate some dietary requirements and restrictions such as gluten-free and lactose intolerant. These will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis so please let your course advisor know well in advance.
The solo experience is a standard element of Outward Bound courses. Students do not travel during this time; they are camped apart from the rest of the group and the instructors (by 50-100 yards, generally) to rest and reflect in solitude. While on solo, students have drinking water, warm clothes, a tarp for shelter, sleeping bag, journal, pens and a little food. Students on solo also have a whistle with which they may alert their instructors in the unlikely event of an emergency. Before solo, students receive basic first aid training, are carefully briefed in expectations and emergency signaling, and are given ideas for using the time to the advantage of the rest of the course and life after returning home. Instructors check on each student every 12-24 hours and resupply their water as needed.
Solo on one-week courses is generally four to twelve hours; on two-week courses, students solo for 12 to 48 hours. On three-week courses or longer, solo is at least 48 hours, with a maximum length of 72 hours.
All electronic devices (including cell phones, music players, computers and navigation devices) will be stored in a safe location at the base and are not permitted on the course.
All prescription medications must be approved by the Admissions Department prior to your course. On courses for 14-17 year olds, medication is overseen by the instructors. Prescription medications must be in their original containers, and necessary OTC medications in original, unopened containers. We recommend bringing doses for those medications that are required to prevent serious consequences. For safety, please pack back-up essential medications in carry-on luggage.
If there is an emergency at home and it is necessary to contact a student, please call 855-802-0307: Monday - Friday 8 AM to 5 PM Eastern Time. After hours, call this same number and please dial 1 and follow the prompts for emergencies. This line forwards automatically to our on-call cell phone and you will receive a response in a timely fashion if not immediately.
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