In my family, Outward Bound is a rite of passage. Growing up, Outward Bound was always brought up in conversations because that is how my parents met and it brought them into a community that is made up of people who are passionate about the wilderness and outdoor education. My parents raised my siblings and I to develop a strong sense of self, character, and a drive to make a difference wherever we end up. Stories and memories are always shared about their old Outward Bound days with the underlying intention of us becoming interested in what shaped them into who they are today. Little do they know that they planted a seed in all of us that propels me and hopefully my sisters to always incorporate Outward Bound into our future selves.
By the end of the summer, my sisters and I will all be Outward Bound alumni not because we were forced, but because we were all drawn to explore that part of our parents history and challenge ourselves to grow & increase our overall inner strength. Grit, toughness, and emotional intelligence were all lessons that were taught to us during family vacations and long weekend expeditions because my parents believed that was what would help us to become stronger individuals. Our family is known for going on adventures and outdoor excursions that raise eyebrows and receive strange looks, but the outdoor education that we have all experienced shaped us into who we are today.
I have realized that not many people my age feel comfortable going hiking, camping, or even feel the need to spend any time outdoors simply because they were not raised outside. This has made me feel passionate about continuing to find time to explore the outdoors as I have learned valuable skills from spending time enjoying the beauty and tranquility of nature itself.
The morals and ethics that have been taught to my sisters and I over the years relate back to lessons that instructors are teaching their students out in the field today. I never made that connection until I went on a Outward Bound staff travel and watched staff teach lessons about emotion management, relationship building, and the ability to work with different people with different skill sets. Over the course of the summer, I observed instructors gain the ability to lead students across unfamiliar terrain and create a sense of community among people who barely know each other for multiple days at a time.
Now, as I am working at VOBS as a summer marketing intern, I have begun to realize how important Outward Bound really is and how the expeditions can change lives. The ability to be disconnected from the world is important and it needs to happen more often, but not many feel the need to separate from technology for too long. The ceremonies and rituals that I am documenting are a part of a students transformation and they turn around to use the skills they learned on course back into their own lives. Words cannot describe how powerful it is to see students on the first day looking like a deer in the headlights who ultimately end up laughing, sharing stories, and connecting with people at the course end banquet over the struggle of burning food during bug hour while wearing bug nets.
Although not many understand why I chose to work at Homeplace for the summer, I felt drawn to experience a part of my parent’s history that has been indirectly passed down through shared experiences. In short, I am an Outward Bound baby, I have Outward Bound blood running through my veins and it was only a matter of time before I found my way back to a place that would teach me to fall in love with Outward Bound all over again. I currently go to school in Washington, DC where I struggle to find places to hike and hang out with friends outside in an urban environment. However, I felt drawn to work here because I could sense that I had to get out of DC to explore a different part of the US.
As a marketing intern, I have had the opportunity to document and observe how students lives are changed forever and that rites of passage are important where every family has traditions that celebrate milestones for each individual. For us, it has always been Outward Bound because the Proudman’s are always Outward Bound exploring the world.
This summer, I needed Outward Bound and Outward Bound needed me.
Are you interested in joining the Outward Bound team or experiencing a different kind of rite of passage? Learn more about job opportunities and visit our program page to find the course that is right for you.