Outward Bound’s roots go back to 1930's Scotland. An educator named Kurt Hahn saw the need for a school that focused on both intellectual studies and personal development. As war erupted in in Europe, Hahn and others noticed an interesting trend. Older, more experienced sailors were surviving. Younger, more fit but less experienced, soldiers were perishing at sea.
In 1941, Hahn proposed starting a new school. This month-long program trained students "through the sea, rather than for the sea." Focus was placed on physical fitness, enterprise, tenacity, and compassion. The goal was to both prepare youth for war and for becoming contributing members of society. The first Outward Bound School was born.
In 1962, local education and industry leaders founded the Colorado Outward Bound School in Marble, Colo. Ever since, Outward Bound has been the pioneering leader in outdoor experiential education. Over a million students from all walks of life have experienced Outward Bound programs. To this day, participants are immersed in challenging expedition courses that inspire discovery. There are now eleven Outward Bound Schools in the US, including the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS).
The wilderness is a powerful classroom. It is increasingly important for youth and young adults to go beyond traditional classrooms. Participating in outdoor experiences rounds their education. It helps them become better adults. Better community members. COBS is dedicated to removing financial and societal barriers to these experiences. Life-changing wilderness experiences should be available to any youth and young adults. Not only those with the financial means. And not only those who have traditionally felt welcome in outdoor spaces. These experiences should be available and welcoming to all.