Kurt Hahn, an inspired educator, devised the Outward Bound program because he believed that it was important for students to develop their inner abilities beyond the classroom. He was also fundamental in establishing the Gordonstoun School in Scotland, the Duke of Edinburgh program and United World Colleges. The ideals that encompass this long standing program are described here by Hahn: “Outward Bound transcends class and individual differences and kindles within each of us a sense of community and strong dedication to service. The wilderness environment allows one’s veneers to slip away, and each person can grow through daring to risk, to care, and to share with others. As an educational forum, Outward Bound offers true learning, involving heart, mind, and body, in a way that will last a lifetime." 

In 1941, Hahn wanted the Outward Bound program and ideals to be available to all youth and not just private school students. Therefore, he sought out financial support from Sir Lawrence Holt, an executive of a major shipping company. Holt agreed to support the Outward Bound program, as he felt sailors were lacking physical and emotional endurance to survive lifeboat rescues during the Second World War. This is what brought about the creation of the first Outward Bound training program. To this day, all the programs use the challenges and inspiration of the natural environment- rivers, lakes, mountains and oceans - to bring the best out in everyone. 
BCS has been a proud member of this extraordinary program since 2005, which was set up and funded by Bartlett H. MacDougall (BCS’54), grandson of Hartland B. MacDougall (BCS’1894). Mr. Bartlett H. MacDougall, a former Chairman and longtime supporter of Outward Bound Canada, created The Outward Bound Canada Award. The award is a 21-day Outward Bound Canada course and is awarded to the student in Form V who most exemplifies “self-reliance, care and respect for others, service to the community, and concern for the environment,” priorities espoused by Outward Bound founder, Kurt Hahn. Furthermore, the student must have completed a minimum of the Bronze Level of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Mr. MacDougall used BCS as the first school to offer such an award. It was Mr. MacDougall’s intention, in the coming years, to establish this award at other schools throughout the country. BCS is honoured to have been the launch pad for this initiative.

List of 7 items.

  • Donovan Faraoni in British Columbia 2017

    My Outward Bound experience in August 2017 was the West Coast Discovery trip. Like all Outward Bound trips, It took place in a challenging natural environment and it was an unforgettable journey of self discovery. I had the privilege of spending 21 days sea kayaking in the stunningly beauty of Clayoquot Sound, on Vancouver Island. The area is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, on the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations people, nestled next to the famous Pacific Rim National Park. But many people may recognize it better as the popular surfing hangout of Tofino.

    The trip had a physically demanding routine. We hauled long sea kayaks weighted down with weeks of supplies in and out of the water in the morning, and again at night. We paddled in big waves for hours at a time, landing on beaches in heavy surf ... this was exhausting after a few days in open water. The trip was also emotionally demanding. We all contributed to maintaining positive morale despite everyone’s fatigue, grumpiness, long isolation from civilization. We took on leadership roles, supporting others, and dealt first hand with conflict resolution. Oh, did I mention, no cell phones for 3 weeks?

    We did 2 solo nights, camping on the beach under a tarp. I was 50 feet away from a howling wolf which was scary but invigorating. The next morning I saw cougar prints on the beach, and we paddled within 100 feet of a black bear as we were about to land that afternoon. One night we camped too close to high tide, and our tents flooded at midnight, making for a sopping rest of the night. Another day I swam through an ice cold creek to collect fresh water for cooking and drinking. I don’t think I would have done this except for the group. A definite highlight was getting fresh vegetables and Nanaimo bars dropped off when our rations were resupplied half-way through the trip — a real treat!
    The core values of Outward Bound are integrity, adaptability, courage, resilience, responsibility, teamwork, service. On my trip, I learned more about self-reliance, empathy and teamwork than at any other time in life. It is a gift I will cherish for my whole life, thanks to BCS and Mr. McDougall’s generosity.
    Donovan Faraoni

  • Kamila Gareeva in Alberta 2016

    The Outward Bound adventure has been significant for me in many ways. As a boarding student in a private school, I have not travelled a lot around Canada. This trip is a great opportunity to explore the country that has been so nice and welcoming to me during my studies.
    This journey has also helped me foster my relationship with the physical world, flora and fauna. It’s helped me appreciate the interconnectedness of the environment, humans and wildlife. As I travel with my group, I also understand the importance of mutual dependency, cooperation and trust in each other.

    The first two days of hiking were nice and pleasant. However, the third day was like a horror movie in the mountains. The elevation that day was over 500 m at a right angle. Each step was critically important. It was like a game of chess, “one wrong movement and you are dead, my dear”. I remember, when the elevation was only 200 m, I had a vision of losing control and falling. I could not keep my balance in my back brace, I felt sorry and angry at myself for slowing down my group. Every single step took me about five minutes. By the half way mark, tears were dripping down from my face, I could not bear the pain in my back anymore, the back brace prevented me from taking even one full breath. My breathing was shallow. I thought that I was choking. However, I tried to stay positive, to smile and support others. That day was really long for everybody. It tested us in many different ways: resiliency, patience, support and trust. I was travelling at the back of the group with two girls who were frightened of heights. We were led by an instructor named Laurie (he was the first Canadian to climb Everest). I struggled emotionally and physically that day. It was the only time in my life I have ever cursed in Russian, gratefully no one understood me.
    That day I felt everything: endless pain, loneliness and fear; but also joy for life , awe of nature and a deep gratitude for a hot dinner.

    The day after was nothing compared to the day before. I was glad for that. The first thing that I did in the morning was hugging myself, making sure that I am alive. I have never been happy before like that, even if it was quite chilly inside the tent and the ground was hard to sleep on.

    The next morning it was not cold anymore in the tents, the ground underneath felt much softer and puffier than my bed at home. My back hurt less than the day before. I felt a change in myself. I felt stronger, tougher, and proud of what I had accomplished; only one day had turned me into another person. Since then, I have promised myself not to whine, blame others or blame God for any struggles I face. No matter what happens to me , I must stay confident, focused and positive, because my success, health and happiness depends on me.

    I believe this experience will help me become the person I want to be by giving me the confidence to try new things, step outside of my comfort zone and seize opportunities to contribute to my community.

    Kind Regards,
    Kamila Gareeva
  • Rebecca Leblond in New Brunswick 2014

    I got to spend seventeen days living off the land and the tides of the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. From August 5th to 21st, all I had was the gear on my back and the people around me – something I’d do again in a heartbeat. I’d drop everything right now and go back. On the Bay of Fundy Discovery course, we were a total of ten students: Johan, Arthur, Ollie, Thomas, Sybil, Majka, Ellen, Mackenzie, Molly, and myself, along with two instructors: John and Eliza, and a coordinator: Rich. I learned many things very quickly on Outward Bound: tuna wraps are something I will never again enjoy (who knows how many we ate?), toilets are a luxury fit for kings, and I will never again complain about a rainy day when I have access to shelter and dry clothes.

    On my solo adventure, I managed to light a fire with only one match on both nights, even though fire-lighting was the thing I was most worried about. Another thing that I realised as soon as John and Eliza left was that I’d never in my life been by myself for more than a few hours at a time, and I’d never spent a night alone. Having survived my solo, I can now safely say that I’m not afraid of being alone anymore. Some days, as we trudged up a mountain or got pelted by rain, all I wanted to do was go home, sleep, and never go outside again. But then, we’d get to our destination, take our heavy packs off and there would be a sunset or a view from a beach that made every minute of hiking absolutely worth it. As I look back on my experience from the comfort of my room back at school – fully equipped with toilets, laundry, a bed, and even a roof – I realise that before my Outward Bound, I’d never truly appreciated everything I have. This may sound extremely cliché, but I will never take anything for granted ever again. I’ve said this before, but I truly cannot stress to which point Outward Bound changed my life: my opinions, my way of life, my mindset, my self-confidence, and above all else, the way I see life.  

    Last of all, I’d like to leave you with a quote I recently stumbled upon that sums up everything I just said in one short sentence. Had I tried, I couldn’t have found anything more accurate.

    Thank you
    Rebecca Leblond
  • Rachelle Hadlock in Alberta 2013

    It all started on August 6th when I arrived at the Yamnuska base camp in Alberta. There were three girls Allison, Iffy and me, plus two boys, Chris and Mike. We camped there for three days learning all the skills we needed to know for our adventure right around the corner. On the last day, we learnt how to rock climb and afterwards got ready for our big start the next day. 
    During these 18 days we’d been alternating roles day after day. From being navigator to leader most importantly the two cooks who also split the task of setting up the bear fence. I couldn’t say any of these were easy. After long days of hiking with 60 to 80 pound packs, beginning bright and early and ending at sundown, it was rough.
    Throughout the first part of the trip, the guides taught us how to work together in making decisions based on facts and kept it as simple as possible. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have made it anywhere. We had evening talks that were very enlightening. I learnt so many things: tying knots, yoga, seeing the present moment as is, cooperating with different personalities, doing things that you feel you can’t do and accomplishing them; like carrying out loads of garbage that you don’t necessarily want to do, or hike up 600m of elevation just to hike back down.
    All of these things sound so obvious, so apparent but when you’re barely a spec in such a vast area, the feeling grows and multiplies and you sense yourself become a part of it all. As it overcomes who you’d left behind at home, there’s this voice that awakens and all you taste is life’s captivating beauty and serenity. There’s a key among the skills and tasks aforementioned and it’s about the fundamental aspect of leadership; motivation.
    When we took a pit stop, we were at the Banff National Park touristic area and I felt so absurd around these people who wore makeup and dressed up and appeared so inhuman and unnatural. Of course, I probably looked just as absurd not having showered for 18 days. However, I guarantee out of all those people there, I truly felt great. The others looked lost, whereas I had been found. Afterwards, when we received our phones on the 24th, I couldn’t remember how to use it. I didn’t even want to turn it on. The reality shock I knew I was in for really got to me quickly. When I got back home, I truly missed that dream-like place.

    Everything is so vivid in my mind and it’s so hard to pick and choose because every single one of those days, every moment encouraged me to become the person I’d always wanted. Those days were perfect, in all shape and form, except that last day. It taught me to obtain my goals, one step at a time. I wish I could have shown the world what it made me become, who I met and how grateful I am for learning from the good and mostly the bad experiences of taking part in leadership roles. Honestly, exploring nature is the best way to reveal what’s inside, your true self. Let me tell you, it is not somebody you think.
    It’s actually an indescribable feeling to attain the littlest things when you’re in the Rockies. Sitting at the tree-line, looking down on powerful looking forests and looking up at steep sublime mountain tops. It’s an amazing place to realize how humans believe they need these materialistic things to get by when truly, they don’t need up to three quarters of it. I could have done that for more than 18 days. In fact, I wanted to keep camping outside once I returned back home. The love of the outdoors will always warm up my heart. It was where I faced the death of my mom and where I found my peace of mind. It was where I witnessed the most valuable and memorable experiences of my life, I’ll never forget Outward Bound Canada, Mountain Discovery Alpinist Course 23.

    Thank you
    Rachelle Hadlock
  • Jonathan Crowther in Ecuador 2012

    Very few words can describe the trip I went on. I've used words like fantastic and incredible so often describing it, but they don't do the experience justice. The Andes are more than incredible. The Amazon is more than amazing. The Galapagos is more than beautiful. They are indescribable.

    During the trip in Ecuador, I hiked for 10 days in the Andes, I rafted for 6 days in the Amazon, and I hiked and kayaked for 5 days in the Galapagos. Each had their own challenges. Hiking was difficult simply because of the time each day spent hiking. We averaged 8-10 hours of hiking each day, but the views of the mountains or on the mountains were amazing. In the Amazon, we tired ourselves paddling through rapids for about 6 hours each day, but the jungle was so vast and pristine that we were in awe the whole time. And finally, the Galapagos was difficult because we there during the rainy season, which meant we spent a lot of time muddy and wet, but the wildlife is unique, and it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

    This trip was enlightening, challenging, and, at times, demanding. This trip was not easy. When you can't breathe because of the altitude, but they still expect you to hike for several more hours, you realize just how tough it is. But that is what makes it great. The world has challenges and can be very demanding, and this trip has taught me not to struggle with adversity, but to face it. I will forever be grateful for the people with me on the excursion, the people who got me there, and the people who believed that I could do it. Outward Bound is amazing, and nothing I've experienced previously has had the same power.
    Thank you
    Jonathan Crowther
  • Christopher Rae in Alberta 2011

    My outward bound experience took place in the beautiful Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. The trip: Hiking for 21 days, circumnavigating Lake Minnewanka. For me, the excitement started before I even got on the plane to fly from Montreal to Calgary. It was my first time I had ever flown, and I was going alone. After landing, meeting with the group, getting through all the Q & A’s and safety lessons, we camped our first night on a campground. The next morning, we left everything unnecessary in a tuck, and went on our way.

    Our first day was spectacular. The sudden change from feeling like we were in the city, then into a low populated area was regular, but the feeling of becoming completely alone with your group was a totally new feeling. The feeling of having everything I’ll need for three weeks on my back, and nearly two hundred kilometres of walking up and down mountains, over rock and soil. It’s a humbling experience. And it proved to be a life changing one as well

    If I could go again, I most certainly would. I would encourage anyone at BCS to try and take advantage of the trips they offer, particularly Outward Bound. These opportunities are very rare after high school, so take advantage of them now.
    Christopher Rae
  • Justin Logan-Chesney in British Columbia 2010

    For my Outward Bound project, I had the opportunity to travel across Canada to Tofino in British Columbia. For the first week and a half of the trip, we were kayaking all over the Clayoquot Sound. We were fortunate enough to come into close contact with wildlife. At times, we would be kayaking and a group of seals would come right next to us and swim alongside. After the kayaking, we began the hiking portion of the trip. During this part of the trip, we did a service project where we cleaned up one of the beaches on the island we were hiking on. It was astounding the amount of garbage we picked up! As part of every Outward Bound excursion, all students will have a “solo” where they must build their own shelter and spend time secluded from everyone else. It was a chance for me to reflect on the trip and enjoy some alone time in nature. I was also lucky enough to see a wolf early one morning, only 30 feet away from me down the beach. It was the most frightening yet exciting moment that I have ever witnessed. We had two final days of kayaking to return to Tofino. Never in my life have I more enjoyed a warm hot shower, ever if it was only 3 minutes long.

    Each person experiences Outward Bound differently. For me, it was a chance to push myself and discover a part of nature that I had never seen before. It was the most refreshing experience to be away from technology and our urban lifestyle. When ten teenagers spend 3 weeks together, sleeping in tents, hiking, kayaking and exploring nature, the friendships that are formed last a lifetime. Even though I only knew the other members of my expedition for less than a month, it felt like so much longer and even now, three years after my experience, we are still in contact. It was an adventure that left me with so many unbelievable memories and great stories to tell.

    Thank you
    Justin Logan-Chesney

Bishop's College School is an independent English-language boarding and day school for grades 7 to 12 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada.