Dear Omaha Outward Bound School Supporter:

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau didn’t say these words about Outward Bound, but in 2015 the Omaha Outward Bound School helped over 950 individual students move closer to their goals.

In 2015, diverse groups of students — from area schools, non-profits, church youth groups, sports teams, NorthStar boys, and corporate groups — engaged in transformative teambuilding experiences with the Omaha Outward Bound School. This year, thanks to partnerships with Outward Bound USA and funded by JP Morgan Chase, we hosted 40 young men from Chicago, Il-based The Fellowship Initiative for a ten-day Youth Services Leaders Expedition. These ‘Fellows’ were on course in Omaha, and at our sister schools Outward Bound California and the New York Outward Bound School.

Outward Bound teaches character development, leadership and instills in students a service work ethic. These measureable outcomes are evident in all our courses and are highlighted on page 5 of this Annual Report.

A 2015 Omaha Outward Bound School summer participant illustrates the impact of this curriculum:

Canoeing was a new experience for me and very tiring. I knew that once I got through the first day, paddling 17 miles, I could get through the next two days paddling. I had to overcome being tired and having backache, to lead my partner to finish our miles we had to paddle that day. After paddling was done, our next challenge was rock climbing and repelling. Having a fear of heights was a big barrier to get strapped up and climb to the top of the rock. With encouragement from the fellow ‘Charlie’ members, I was able to push myself and reach the top. Once rock climbing was over, we had to repel. That was the most difficult challenge this whole trip. After walking to the edge, the hard part was leaning back and taking a step down. I could hear some of the Charlie fellows below yelling “you can do it!” “Let’s go Brandon!” I kept thinking “if you can get through this, you can get through anything.” I finally made it down to the bottom. I never felt so proud in my life. I was able to take the encouragement that everyone else gave me and give it to the next person that repelled.

The Omaha Outward Bound School does not teach students to be experts in the disciplines of paddling, rock climbing, rappelling, and camp craft. Rather, we teach our students to use these experiences in order to build their ability to venture into unfamiliar territory and discover for themselves: “there is more in us than we know.”

Thank you for your support for the Omaha Outward Bound School in 2015. Your support makes it possible to deliver this impactful programming – putting diverse groups of Omaha youth in unfamiliar settings, and building their capacity to be tomorrow’s leaders.