FAQ / School & Group Courses FAQ

All our programs are built on a curriculum that teaches students social-emotional learning, environmental leadership, and personal resilience. We encourage educators or group leaders to share with us your desired outcomes as we build your OBC expedition. Other examples are below.

Self-Care in the Wild: During a Group expedition, participants learn the basics of wilderness survival, such as clothing layering systems (staying warm and dry) and how to stay nourished and hydrated. They also learn and practice how to manage energy and comfort levels, and how to advocate for themselves if or when things get tough.

Community and Interpersonal Skills: Together with the group, participants learn and practice how to take care of their own needs and those of others. Participants have the opportunity to develop their leadership and communication skills; recognize and process emotions; and learn conflict resolution strategies. Overall, they strive to strengthen their independence and self-reliance.

In every Outward Bound program, participants learn by doing. They’re challenged as individuals and become effective team members. We allow participants to try new things in an inclusive and supportive environment. Participants are never forced to do anything they don’t want to do, but we’ll give them small steps to take to make progress toward new rewards and experiences – regardless of where they’re starting from.  

Your instructors will inform and inspire your group; as the course progresses, the responsibility for tasks shifts from the instructors to the participants (called “Transference”). This is when the technical and decision-making skills of the group develops, grows, and ultimately is owned by participants. Instructors also facilitate the gap between the skills learned on course, and situations at home and in the school community where these skills can be applied.

Outward Bound Canada supplies all of the technical gear you need! This includes canoes, kayaks, paddles, life jackets/PFDs, tents, first-aid equipment, sleeping pads, cooking and eating utensils, stoves, helmets, ropes, harnesses and tarps. OBC also provides the tripping packs appropriate for each course. Participants are only responsible for bringing their own personal clothing and footwear and a headlamp! 

You can pack everything in luggage that is suitable for traveling. We will provide you with a Clothing List, which outlines the items you should pack.  We expect participants to do their best with bringing their own clothing, as it is always more comfortable to wear your own.  If you have questions or get stuck, we can help you find tricky items or come up with an alternative. We have an inventory of supplies that participants can borrow if they do not have the ability to acquire some things on their own. During Duffle Shuffle, the instructors will ensure all participants are well equipped for the trip before heading out

Here are some key steps you can take to prepare your students for an impactful OBC experience:

  1. Understand the program: Familiarize yourself with Outward Bound’s philosophy and methodology. This will help you explain the program effectively to your students and manage their expectations.

 

  1. Open communication: Have an honest and open conversation with your students about the program. Share our website and videos to give them a visual understanding of what they’ll encounter. Address their concerns openly and listen to their questions. 
  2. Ease anxieties: Acknowledge that some students might feel nervous about the challenges they’ll face. Reassure them that our experienced instructors are there to support and guide them throughout the journey. 
  3. We’re here to help! Remember, our Program Managers and Admissions team are always happy to assist you with presentations, paperwork, and any questions you or your students may have. 
  4. Pre-Outward Bound activities: Consider spending time outdoors with your class before the program. This can help them feel more comfortable in a natural environment and build anticipation for their OBC adventure. 
  5. Academic alignment: If possible, connect your classroom learning to the skills and values your students will gain during their Outward Bound experience. This will create a sense of continuity and enhance their learning outcomes. 
  6. Early paperwork submission: Encourage students to submit all necessary paperwork, such as their confidential medical history form, well in advance. This helps avoid last-minute stress and ensures a smooth registration process.
  7. Inclusion: While we strive for inclusivity, it’s important to understand that certain physical limitations may require specific accommodations. We recommend contacting us beforehand to discuss individual needs.

By following these steps, you can create a positive and informed environment for your students, setting them up for a successful and transformative Outward Bound Canada experience.

Outward Bound Canada offers participants a powerful and challenging experience where success is directly linked to their motivation and commitment to the course.

We expect all students to participate voluntarily, to be willing to do their best and try new activities, to work as part of a group, and to follow instructions. Participants who put themselves or others at risk through misconduct or unsafe practices may be asked to leave the course.

Students should note that possession and/or use of non-prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and non-prescription cannabis products or illegal substances during the course is prohibited and will result in early departure from the course without refund. Participants may also be asked to leave the course if they misuse prescribed medication.

Exclusive and intimate relationships between participants (regardless of age) are not permitted due to the emotional and social impact on individuals and the group, as well as our commitment to creating a supportive learning community.

Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at Outward Bound Canada. Harassment is any behaviour that threatens, humiliates, intimidates or hurts another person. This includes harassment based on gender, age, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.

These policies will be explained to all students at the beginning of their course.

OBC’s highly trained professional instructors ensure that all activities adhere to the strict guidelines we have developed over more than 50 years of working in the wilderness and that relevant provincial regulations are followed. We mitigate risk wherever possible. To ensure that everyone can participate and assess risks and opportunities, we conduct a briefing before each activity.

Our methods and practices are regularly monitored and reviewed by a committee made up of senior Outward Bound staff from schools across North America, as well as independent experts.

In summary, while there is always some level of risk, you are in great hands with OBC. Check out our Risk Management page for more information.

Physical challenge is one of the many tools that help school and group participants discover their personal potential. The course activities can be physically demanding for the whole day or at least part of the day; the level of difficulty varies depending on the course and location (e.g. urban front-country vs wilderness backcountry).

Most school and group programs are developed in collaboration with teachers and group leaders. This ensures that the program is physically accessible to all group members, while individual challenges are addressed through tailored modifications within the program itself.

Please encourage each student to complete their Confidential Medical History form in detail and answer all questions honestly so that we can be well prepared to welcome them.

If a student is unsure about their ability to participate in an Outward Bound Canada course, please contact us. We strive to manage risks for all participants through these planning processes.

Outward Bound instructors are skilled, dedicated, and caring outdoor educators. They have extensive wilderness experience and come from a variety of backgrounds: education, business, camps and other outdoor education networks, or from one of over 40 Outward Bound schools around the world.

In addition to formal qualifications in Wilderness First Aid, our instructors are constantly updating their skills through independent training, personal expeditions, and staff development opportunities provided by Outward Bound Canada. They can’t wait to meet you!

The course fee includes all the technical equipment for your course (tents, sleeping bags, backpacks, gear) as well as three meals a day and snacks. The cost also includes the salary for the knowledgeable and experienced instructors and support staff who will teach and guide you during the course. These people play an important role at OBC and their skills and knowledge are very valuable. OBC’s additional fees also include applicable taxes.

Our Cancellation Policy takes into account the fact that most of the costs for your expedition will be incurred before you arrive at your program. Please let us know as soon as possible if you will not be able to attend the program. 

Please refer to our Cancellation & Refund Policy for youth courses, cancellation policy for school/group participants, and cancellation policy for participants on funded programs.

OBC is a national charity that has been operating in Canada since 1969. Our purpose is to empower youth through experiential adventures in nature. We envision a Canada where all youth have access to high quality, high impact outdoor education experiences that help them realize their potential.

However, we also recognize that access to the natural world is not equal. To ensure broad and equitable access to these transformative experiences, we offer a variety of financial assistance options. When available, OBC provides funding for schools and groups that meet our criteria. Please contact groups@outwardboundcanada.ca to inquire about funding availability.

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Reach out to us, we’d love to help.