Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Outward Bound Course?
Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization and expeditionary learning school. We serve people of all ages and backgrounds through active learning expeditions that inspire character development, self-discovery and service both in and out of the classroom. Outward Bound delivers programs using unfamiliar settings as a way for participants across the country to experience adventure and challenge in a way that helps students realize they can do more than they thought possible. Customized courses provide curricula developed for struggling teens, groups with specific health, social or educational needs and business and professional organizations.
Outward Bound may be the hardest thing you have ever done. It will challenge you mentally, physically and socially. Outward Bound philosophy maintains that by facing the challenges the course will offer you, you will emerge physically and mentally stronger. You will have an increased mastery of outdoor expedition skills as well as a better understanding of your own capabilities and how to make a difference in the world.
Who can participate on an Outward Bound course?
From young teens to adults, Outward Bound offers something for everyone. Regardless of age, our courses deliver lasting benefits and memories. You will develop leadership skills, confidence, and self-reliance. You will travel to awe-inspiring places and learn through hands-on experience. We also offer specialized courses for at-risk teens both from Baldwin and Mobile County, Alabama and throughout the country.
What types of courses does the Alabama Outward Bound School offer?
Standard expedition length varies between 3 and 28 days. On the expedition, all gear, food and transportation is provided.
- Gulf Coast canoeing on the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta north of Mobile, Alabama. The Delta is the second largest in the U.S. at 200,000 acres of fascinating river bottomland and marsh, teeming with wildlife and exotic plants. Canoeing on the Conecuh River in southeast Alabama. The Conecuh River is 180 miles in length and travels through a variety of geologic areas. From waterfalls and limestone bluffs to white sandy beaches, the Conecuh is a magnificent river.
- Backcountry hiking through Talladega National Forest comprised of 400,000 acres at the southern edge of the Appalachian Mountains and home to Alabama’s highest point, Cheaha Mountain, at 2,405 ft.
- Sea kayaking through the uninhabited barrier islands of the Gulf Coast. You will experience the marshlands, bayous, saltwater estuaries and white sandy beaches of the Mississippi Sound. You will camp on prehistoric Native American shell middens on your journey.
- Wilderness Medicine. We offer introductory and advanced wilderness medicine training. View More.
How much does it cost to participate on an Outward Bound course?
Outward Bound awards scholarships to individuals and groups based on financial need and merit. Please contact our Admissions Manager for more information (251)990-0323.
How physically fit do you need to be to go on an Outward Bound course?
While you do not have to be an athlete or in peak physical condition to attend an Outward Bound course, you do have to be ready both physically and mentally to take on the challenges you will find on your course.
What is a typical day?
A typical day usually means getting up early, making breakfast, packing up camp, mapping the route, and then hitting the trail or water, depending on your activities. You will travel all day - taking breaks to rest, snack, or enjoy a view - but you will generally be covering lots of territory. Once you reach camp, group members will divide and conquer to get food cooked and camp set up. After dinner you may meet to address the next day's plans, or to discuss leadership and teamwork methods before crawling into your sleeping bag for a well-deserved rest.
What do you eat on an Outward Bound course?
You and the other members of your group will learn to cook tasty and nutritious meals over portable gas stoves. Our meals are mainly vegetarian and consist of grains, pasta, nuts, beans, cereals, and other light, dehydrated foods. A typical breakfast might be granola or oatmeal; lunch would include tortillas and cheese or peanut butter and jam on crackers; dinner might be macaroni and cheese or beans and rice. Our diets can have more fats and protein (depending on the season and the environment) than what you are accustomed to. We can accommodate some special food needs (such as lactose intolerance or vegan diets), but only if we know well in advance. If you have a particularly unusual diet, we will ask you to bring some of your own specialty foods. Certain food or insect bite allergies may not be safely accommodated in a remote wilderness setting. We review applicants with food allergies on a case by case basis.
What are the risks?
Living and traveling in a remote wilderness setting exposes you to risks. We believe those risks enable you to gain insights and perspective unavailable anywhere else. Our commitment to delivering those benefits to you stands along side our commitment to safety. Our staff at all levels is dedicated to your safety by their words, actions and values. Outward Bound instructors receive regular training in the various outdoor activities and environments available on our courses. Most instructors are certified as a Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician or equivalent. Our programs are regularly reviewed by outdoor professionals from within and outside of Outward Bound in order to identify and consider potential hazards.
Our staff is trained to identify and manage the risks of travel in remote areas. Your instructors are trained in first aid, search and rescue, and emergency management, but they cannot guarantee your absolute safety - you must take responsibility for your own well being and follow all instructions. You should come to your course prepared to work hard, take responsibility for yourself, and master the skills taught on the expedition. You will be traveling in remote areas, hours or even days, from definitive medical care.
Each course carries a cell or satellite phone for emergency communication. However, coverage in the backcountry is limited and there is no guarantee that the phone will work from any given location. For your safety, it is extremely important that you share any and all medical or psychological issues you have when filling out the medical history section of the application.
Is your program accredited?
Yes, the Alabama Outward Bound School located in Fairhope, Alabama is accredited by the Council on Accreditation in Wilderness and Adventure-Based Therapeutic Outdoor Services.
How can I learn more about your program?
Call (251)990-0323 x 2425 and ask to speak with our Admissions Manager. We look forward to assisting you.