The Outward Bound Experience


The Outward Bound experiential learning experience is often described as a journey, both physically and metaphorically. The following six elements describe this journey and what it means to be Outward Bound.

Building character and resilience
1. Expeditions
An expedition can last one day or several days with a bivouac in the wild or spending the night on a boat. During a journey, the participants travel over land or water. An expedition's duration ensures that the consequences of the participants' behaviour are visible and tangible. During the trip, one can experience highs and lows; tension as well as tranquillity. The participant will continuously face challenges but have ample opportunity to reflect on their experiences and learning moments in peace and quiet.
Building character and resilience
2. Challenging activities
An important element of the Outward Bound experience is the participation in challenging outdoor activities. These may include cycling and hiking, navigation, surfing, sailing, sea kayaking, canoeing, rescue and first aid, and more. With these activities, we challenge participants to push the limits of their abilities and gain new experiences that teach them how to make the most of their character strengths.
3. As self-reliant as possible
Self-reliance is about encouraging participants to take responsibility for themselves and each other. During their stay at Outward Bound, they will be encouraged to take responsibility, in activities, camp chores, and group discussions. Being self-reliant may involve small tasks such as tying laces and adjusting backpack straps or complex tasks such as leading a group on a sea paddling trip. Experiencing self-reliance can give the participants' self-efficacy an enormous boost.
4. In the natural environment
In our context, journeying means spending time in challenging natural environments - beaches, forests, lakes, and the sea. We strive to enable participants to experience the natural environment in all its facets through snorkelling, wild camping, canoeing, sailing or spending time alone on the beach. We believe this allows participants to develop character and resilience, discover new things about themselves and others, and develop new perspectives on nature's role in their lives.
5. Being challenged at the edge of your capabilities
This is about facing challenges at or near the limit of your ability without going beyond it. Everyone has different levels of experience, skill and self-confidence. Participants are not all equally fit and have varying degrees of what they find comfortable. Outward Bound instructors are aware of this and strive to tailor the activities for each participant individually at a level that is challenging, sometimes very challenging but always achievable. When the level is just right, participants see themselves in a new light that is engaging, stimulating and instructive about who they are and what they are capable of.
6. Progressive
Outward Bound courses are progressive. Taking participants from whichever starting point they are at before the course towards new places relevant for them. At the beginning of a course the instructor will lead and the participants follow; as the program develops the instructor will then always be looking for opportunities to pass the responsibility to participants, where this is appropriate. Outward Bound courses are much more than a combination of standalone activities – they progressively open up new experiences, demand new skills and unveil new awareness.

Outward Bound Netherlands

Outward Bound® and the Compass Rose are each registered trademarks of Outward Bound International. Outward Bound Netherlands is an educational non-profit organisation registered under number 63491419.


Outward Bound International

Outward Bound Netherlands is proud to be part of Outward Bound International. Outward Bound International is a membership organisation of the worldwide Outward Bound network. This network consists of 34 Outward Bound schools around the world.