Thursday, March 10, 2005

Be 'Outward Bound.'

For the last three years, I've been a camp counselor at Camp AIM High, a summer program of Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers. For five days, we enjoy the great outdoors and work on personal development, education and life skills. It's a great time! Last year, there was a new piece of programming. Folks from Outward Bound came to work with the kids. I'd heard of Outward Bound before but had never seen them in action. The kids really enjoyed the exercises and understood how the games and activities held lessons for their lives.

Outward Bound is a non-profit, educational organization that "delivers adventure in the wilderness, urban settings, workrooms, and classrooms to help students achieve their possibilities and to inspire them to serve other and care for the world around them." If you like the outdoors, this may be just the organization for you. Their programs stress five core values:

* Challenge and Adventure
* Compassion and Service
* Social and Environmental Responsibility
* Character Development
* Learning Through Experience

They teach these values through five types of programming:

* Wilderness expeditions - Outward Bound offers over 750 wilderness courses that serve adults, teens and youth. These include dogsledding, rock climbing, sea kayaking, sailing, and more.

* Partnerships with schools - Outward Bound works with students all over the country to help them build confidence and achieve academic mastery.

* Professional programs - Outward Bound teaches teamwork, communication, leadership and trust to corporate, nonprofit, and government organizations.

* Urban and community - Outward Bound offers urban programming in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Atlanta to "help individuals discover their personal potential and the possibilities for the communities in which they reside."

* Outreach programs - "Outward Bound Outreach programs use the wilderness and expeditions to help transform the lives of adjudicated and pre-adjudicated youth who have a history of truancy, running away or ungovernable behavior, or may have committed low-level juvenile offenses."

Perhaps you know of an organization that might like to work with Outward Bound. Or maybe you want to enjoy the outdoors and serve as a volunteer with Outward Bound. Or maybe you just want to support their work financially. In any case, be "Outward Bound!"

For information on Outward Bound outside the US, visit

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