Outward Bound uses a lot of language and concepts special to our work that might sound strange to newcomers.
Below are a few key ideas to get more acquainted with our culture.

This is a communication tool that allows participants to give each other constructive feedback in an assertive way to address issues. Complaint / Feeling / Request (known as CFR) is an excellent activity to introduce when you sense that students need to give one another simple feedback. CFR consists of 3 steps:

  1. Complaint: The person that has the feedback to give simply states their complaint or problem to a specific person (or the group as a whole). For example, “John, my complaint is that I feel you do not complete your job with craftsmanship when you put up the tarp, because it is always droopy and does not keep our stuff dry when it rains.”
  2. Feeling: They then state how this action makes them feel; ex: “It makes me feel angry because my gear gets wet and then it never dries.”
  3. Request: The same person then assertively requests their desire. “John, my request is that if you still don’t know how to tie the knots,
The Omaha Outward Bound School (OOBS) operates under the concept of Challenge by Choice. This concept allows participants to choose their level of participation in challenges. The idea of allowing the participants to choose their challenge places the responsibility of the learning on the participants rather than the facilitator. This in turn helps the individuals create ownership over their experience and gain true internalization of their accomplishments.
This is a useful assessment tool to help you better understand your students’ (and your own) behavior so you can help them meet their needs. It is a non-blaming way to look at why people act in the ways that they do. Choice Theory can be useful in helping you understand the motives behind a student’s behavior. If a student is acting in an unfavorable manner, try thinking about what need they might be trying to meet and how can you help them. Their needs won’t go away, and it is often more productive to think of how your needs dance or conflict with those of your students.
The following methods are to bring about change before, during, and after the activity. During some methods will involve the leaders are reactive to the experience such as commenting on the group’s learning. Or other methods are used before and during the adventure activity, as well as afterward to bring about change or to deepen understanding.

  1. Letting the Experience Speak for Itself – learning and doing (let the mountains speak for themselves…)
  2. Speaking for the Experience – learning by telling
  3. Debriefing the Experience – learning through reflection
  4. Directly Frontloading the Experience – direction with reflection
  5. Framing the Experience – reinforcement with reflection
  6. Indirectly Frontloading the Experience – redirection before reflection.
A discussion of expectations involves setting parameters for the program. This is an opportunity for the facilitator to inform the group members about what is expected of them. It is unreasonable to hold people accountable for the rules and guidelines if an instructor does not share them first.
Many researchers have identified the various stages of growth groups tend to go through that result in group competence. The model is “forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.” In this model, as in others, members of groups start as unconnected individuals, begin to form as a group, experience conflict or instability as they sort out roles and group norms, begin to function efficiently, reach a high level of performance, and ultimately dissolve as a group.
High Ropes Course
An initial experience with Outward Bound typically lasting 1 – 6 hours. It gives an introduction to the value of a longer Outward Bound experience while reaching short term objectives through a facilitated adventure on the ground, on the ropes course, on a river, or on our rock climbing wall.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.
Solo is a unique opportunity within the Outward Bound experience. Solo should: Offer a break from the physical rigors of the expedition & Immerse students in a period of self-reflection.
The expeditionary progression is based around three phases: Training, Main and Final. This format provides a context for the progression of skill mastery. Training offers students hands-on, progressive instruction in a variety of expedition and personal skills, while highlighting the importance of skill mastery through the use of specific, relevant lessons. Main enables students to apply their newly-acquired knowledge in a supervised environment. Final offers students the chance to take as much responsibility for the course as they are capable of.
The Team Development Course (TDC) is a versatile tool, providing exceptional program experiences for a wide variety of groups. Even though the design looks simple, the TDC offers some of the more dynamic team building initiatives in the adventure education industry. This course brings you 2 feet off the ground and with a little balance and support from your team it offers amazing outcomes!
Newfound awareness, values and confidence allow students to positively address future challenges and decisions. The successful completion of tasks that they once considered impossible can affect their ability to direct the courses of their lives. The understanding and compassion that come from mutual effort, support and trust will temper that ability with a greater sense of social responsibility.