Reenergizing Veterans Through Adventure and Challenge.
Outward Bound for Veterans helps thousands of returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.
Outward Bound for Veterans provides our returning service men and women with rewarding wilderness expeditions specially designed for the men and women or our nation’s armed forces. Veterans programs are designed to be exhilarating, challenging, and rewarding. We make the most of the organizational and teamwork skills which veterans have learned in the military to move groups of 10-12 participants straight into the field.
Once on expedition, Outward Bound training will bring veterans up to speed on our wilderness travel expectations. Leadership skills will be tested as participants take responsibility for the crew and make community plans and decisions. Our staff, most veterans themselves, have extensive experience in backpacking, mountaineering, climbing, canoeing, sailing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, and dog sledding. Participants rely on them for information and safety, but ultimately the success of the experience rests with the participants. All programs, including travel to and from the course areas from anywhere in the continental US, are fully funded through the generous support of a network of partners, sponsors and donors. Participating veterans only need to provide day-to-day clothing and footwear.
- build a supportive community with other war veterans
- facilitate genuine discussions on readjustment and transition challenges
- re-energize and reinvigorate spirits through adventures and challenges in a beautiful natural environment
- reduce the feeling of isolation
- provide the opportunity to bond with comrades outside of the typical military structure
- transfer veterans’ military values and experiences to civilian life so that veterans are prepared to serve their stateside communities.
Outward Bound for Veterans helps returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.
Servicemen and veterans take part in wilderness expeditions that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging in order to build the self-confidence, pride, trust and communication skills necessary to successfully return to their families, employers and communities following wartime service. These expeditions purposefully scaffold wartime experiences (carrying heavy packs, sore shoulders, rubbery legs, sleeping out, strange noises, sweat, dirt, frustration and anger) with authentic achievements to create positive emotional and mental outcomes.
Wilderness activities are used as metaphors for daily life experiences in the pursuit of individual and group excellence, illuminating how the support and collaboration needed to meet Outward Bound goals can positively impact participants’ interactions with others at home. Many veterans experienced courage, brotherhood and a real sense of power and competence while in combat. Outward Bound gives Veterans and service members the opportunity to re-experience these strengths in themselves in a different context, thus helping them to transition back to civilian life.
Outward Bound’s first courses for veterans were established through collaboration with Veterans Administration Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) units to serve Vietnam War veterans. Outward Bound renewed the program in 2006 to serve Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, running one such course each year. The 2006 and 2007 courses both received overwhelmingly positive evaluations. Based on this success, in 2008 Outward Bound received a three-year, $4.3 million grant from Military Family Outdoor Initiative Project (MFO). With this grant and additional support from the federal government and others, we have increased the number of veterans served from 13 in 2007 to 1,400 in 2010.
Please visit www.outwardbound.org/veteran-adventures/outward-bound-for-veterans/ for more information regarding the courses, dates and locations. Clicking on any of the links or photos will direct you to Outward Bound for Veterans.