…I had spent 10 days in the Costa Rican rainforest on an Outward Bound program. I had hiked 22 hours with a 45-pound pack…and stayed with the kindest family I had ever met, playing endless soccer games with their many children. A tree should seem like nothing! But this tree, slippery with moss, entwined with vines, with 50 feet of precarious handholds, was a new challenge. And I have never been one to turn away from a challenge.
SCE (www.scefdn.org) has awarded a $100,000 grant to Voyageur Outward Bound School to increase and augment its outdoor learning expeditions. The funds will allow the organization to triple the number of youth it will serve in its 2014-15 partnership program with Open World Learning Community School and St. Paul Public Schools. The program will use experiential learning to challenge participants to understand that they are capable of more.
This intensive, applied service-learning program, Schuylkill Acts & Impacts: An Expedition to Inspire Watershed Action, is being piloted by the Schuylkill Headwaters Association located in Pottsville, PA in collaboration with Outward Bound Philadelphia and over 25 partners and sponsoring organizations from throughout the watershed.
Modern society poses significant challenges to young people, particularly during periods of transition when they can be left to feel vulnerable, often becoming disengaged with their own learning and development. Indeed, the Annual Population Survey (APS) estimated that, in 2012, there were 33,000 young people aged 16 to 19 years not in education, employment or training in Scotland. This means that approximately 13 per cent of the young people within this age range in Scotland are outside of any form of recognised participation in society.
NYC Outward Bound Schools has developed a culture of “grit” across its network of schools. One area in which this particularly stands out is the arena of college readiness. The schools don’t just address the academics of college preparation, but also the character needs: it takes perseverance, discipline and resilience for students to overcome the challenges they face to get to and through college. It’s important to make sure students envision themselves as scholars and that they have the tools to succeed.