FAQ - Outward Bound Canada Outward Bound Canada







WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE COURSE FEE?
The course fee includes the use of all technical gear required for your course: tents, sleeping bags, backpacking gear, and much more! Also included are three meals per day plus the snacks that are required to keep you nourished and energized. Included in the course fee are the knowledgeable and experienced instructors will be there to teach and guide you throughout the entire course. Additional fees include: an application fee, high school credit fee (if applicable for you) and applicable taxes.

WHAT IS AN OUTWARD BOUND CANADA COURSE LIKE?
On every Outward Bound course, participants learn by doing. Participants will be challenged as an individual and become an effective member of the team. They are compelled to dig deep within themselves, whether canoeing, mountaineering, rock climbing, sea kayaking, dogsledding, white water paddling, or backpacking. It important to know that your participation is voluntary and we expect you to try new things and put forth your best effort. The course is designed to be physically and mentally challenging. Our Challenge by Choice model allows participants to try new things in a safe and supported environment – you will never be forced to do something you don’t want to do. Our highly qualified instructors inform and inspire, and then they step back. As the course progresses, responsibility shifts from instructors to participants, and the groups technical and decision-making abilities are able to thrive and grow. For more specific information on each course, you can find a course that fits your interests here or browse all of our courses here. Each course page has a detailed description with more particulars.

HOW FIT DO I HAVE TO BE?
Outward Bound is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things: participants with a wide range of physical abilities have successfully completed an Outward Bound course. The better shape you're in, the more comfortable you will be. Physical challenge is one of the many tools we use to help you explore your personal potential. You do not have to be an athlete in order to benefit from our courses, as they are designed for the reasonably fit, active individual. Our courses are very physically demanding and a certain amount of physical preparation will ensure that you are ready and relatively comfortable on course. A medical screening process is in place for all participants to ensure safety of yourself and the group. Please answer any questions honestly, and provide us with as much information as you can, so that we can help you to be prepared and ready.

HOW DO I GET TO THE COURSE?
Outward Bound Canada courses take place in urban and wilderness landscapes across the country. As you can imagine, some are more remote than others. Participants are required to make their way to and from the course independently – with family, friends, or on their own. Participants travel to us in a variety of ways: by car, bus or airplane. Your Welcome Booklet includes information on specific meeting dates, times and locations for your course.

WHO ARE THE OTHER PARTICIPANTS ON MY COURSE?
Groups usually consist of eight to twelve participants and two instructors. Our students come from across Canada and around the world. They bring with them a wide variety of skills and life experiences – you can expect to meet peers with uniquely different family, school and social experiences. Since 1969, over 100,000 people have enjoyed a wilderness expedition with Outward Bound Canada.

CAN I BRING A FRIEND?
Anyone can sign up for an Outward Bound Canada course! We strongly encourage participants to consider attending a course on their own, independently from friends or siblings. In our experience, participants who step out of their comfort zone to participate independently are in a great place to experience immense personal growth and development. The majority of our participants do attend their course alone – the fresh start of the whole group allows for the building and maintaining of an integral team of working groups and special friendships.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
Unlike most other wilderness expeditions, Outward Bound Canada supplies all of the necessary technical gear you'll need! This includes canoes, kayaks, paddles, life jackets/PFDs, tents, backpacks, first-aid equipment, sleeping pads, cooking and eating utensils, stoves, helmets, ropes, harnesses and tarps. OBC also provides the tripping packs appropriate for each course. Students are only responsible for bringing their own personal clothing and footwear. You can pack everything in luggage that is suitable for traveling.
Outward Bound Canada will provide you with a Clothing List, which outlines the items to pack. We expect students to do their best with bringing their own clothing, as it is always more comfortable to wear your own. If you have questions or are stuck, we can help you find tricky items or come up with an alternative. We have an inventory of supplies that students can borrow if they do not have the ability to acquire some things on their own. The instructors will ensure all participants are well equipped for the trip before heading out.

WHAT KIND OF FOOD DO WE GET ON THE COURSE?
A detailed menu is planned prior to each course and is subject to change based on a number of factors. We can accommodate many dietary restrictions – vegetarian, Halal, Kosher - and some food allergies, Please indicate your dietary needs on your Confidential Medical History Form in as much detail as possible. We may request some follow up information in order to plan your course menu. Participants on all courses will receive sufficient calories in reflection of their physical output on the course. Bringing your own food/snacks on course is not required. Please speak to the Admissions Department to make sure you understand the dietary concerns of other participants before packing extra snacks (for example: severe allergies).

WHAT IS YOUR SMOKING, ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE USE POLICY?
The possession and/or use of non-prescription drugs, alcohol, tobacco products or illegal substances while on course is strictly prohibited. This includes the misuse of prescription medications. You will be asked to sign a Code of Conduct & Assumption of Risk form demonstrating your understanding of this policy. Any participant who brings these substances on course will be removed from the course and sent home at the expense of the participant/their family.

WHAT WILL THE SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS BE?
Participants will be sleeping in tents for the duration of the course – bringing you that much closer to nature! Participants will share a tent with others on the course in small groups. Outward Bound provides you with the tent, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad. Feel free to bring your own sleeping bag if you wish, however, if it is not appropriate for the weather conditions, your instructors may suggest you use one of ours.

CAN I BRING MY CELL PHONE ON THE COURSE?
You won’t need it – participants on course enjoy a vacation from technology! Your cell phone, as with your other personal belongings that you don't need while on the trip itself (wallet, iPod, airline tickets, etc.) will be stored safely at the Outward Bound base camp while you are off in the wilderness. Once the course starts, you will not be able to contact anyone outside the course, as you will be immersed in the Outward Bound experience – building connections with yourself, others, and the natural world! Please know that the instructor team has a plan for getting in touch with the Outward Bound team and families in the event of an emergency.

WILL I BE SAFE?
Safety is the number one priority at Outward Bound Canada. Our highly trained instructors make sure that all activities adhere to strict safety guidelines that we have developed over more than fifty years of working in the wilderness. Instructional briefings precede each new activity to help you participate safely in all of our activities. Our methods and practices are monitored and reviewed regularly by a Safety Review Team made up of senior Outward Bound staff from schools across North America, as well as independent experts.
Outward Bound Instructors are skilled, dedicated, and caring outdoor educators. These well-rounded individuals have extensive wilderness experience. They come from a variety of backgrounds: education, business, social work, camp and outdoor educational networks, or from one of over 40 Outward Bound schools around the world. Aside from formal qualifications in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, our instructors continually update their skills through independent training, personal expeditions, and staff development opportunities provided by Outward Bound. While there is inherently an element of risk involved, you'll be in very good hands.

CAN YOU TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE SOLO EXPERIENCE?
The solo experience, called “solo”, is designed to give you some time to yourself, away from the group, to relax, reflect and recharge. The solo provides a change of pace, and it varies in length depending on the duration of your course. You will have the opportunity to set up a campsite of your own, manage your own physical and mental needs and enjoy your independence. You will never be more than a whistle-blow away from your instructors who will check on you regularly. Often described as the most transformative part of the experience, the solo gives students the chance to reflect on earlier conversations from the expedition, absorb important realizations about yourself and leave behind anything that would no longer serve them going forward. It is important to know that the solo is not a survival exercise. You will have the proper gear, food, water and other necessities with you. It's simply a time for self-exploration, rest and reflection.

HOW DO I KNOW IF AN OUTWARD BOUND CANADA COURSE IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Before you decide to embark on an adventure, you should take the time to consider if you have the following:

  • A positive attitude and an open mind
  • Willingness to meet new people, outside of your usual social group
  • A desire to boost your self-confidence and personal and practical skills
  • Willingness to take responsibility for your own safety and decision making
  • An appetite for adventure, fun and challenge!


If you have most of the above qualities, then an Outward Bound course is definitely for you!

HOW DO I SIGN UP?
Have a look through our Course Finder to see which courses interest you. Once you've made your choice, either register online or call one of our course advisors at 1-888-OUTWARD (688-9273).