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2021: A Year in Review

The past two years have presented many challenges for Outward Bound Canada due to COVID-19, but more importantly, the pandemic has had a serious impact on young people. With schools often closed to in-person learning, and with sports and extracurricular activities disrupted, it’s no surprise that mental health issues are on the rise. Sadly, many experts predict that mental health services and support programs for youth will be required for years to come, long after the immediacy of the pandemic is over. When you layer on the issues of climate change and the future of work, it’s clear that this generation of youth is facing significant challenges.

Within this context, Outward Bound Canada stands ready to serve. Although public health restrictions prevented us from operating until June 2021, we managed to resume courses in the field as soon as these restrictions were lifted. We also prioritized the delivery of our courses to many underserved groups. Nearly 50 percent of our students in 2021 received financial assistance, such as a bursary or subsidy. We also managed to launch new and innovative programs, including two courses for 2SLGBTQ+ participants in Alberta and Ontario. In total, we served 429 youth with programs across the country.

Our 2021 impact results were amazing:

Image of mountain peaks with impact stats

And the young people who participated in our programs benefited greatly:

“I was really lost in my life when Outward Bound came into it. I was really hoping to find myself. Actually, my biggest hope was that through the trip, and it being so long, that I would figure out who I was and what made me happy, and my strengths and my weaknesses… My Outward Bound trip helped me learn how to deal with different types of stress because you’re put under different pressures that you never felt before, like being away from your family, your friends – and being able to push yourself even when you feel like you can’t.” – Grace, 2021 Participant

As we enter 2022, we are encouraged that a number of our school partners are reaching out to book programs again. With that in mind, in 2022, our intention is to raise more money to fund school programs in communities that would not otherwise have access to our services. Every young person deserves the opportunity to take advantage of the quality outdoor adventure education that we can offer. And within the context of the pandemic, we know that many young people have missed out on much-needed social and emotional development opportunities, which are essential to their future success at school, work and in their communities. We look forward to working with many new schools and helping to address these learning gaps.

We are very fortunate to have the support of so many partners who enable us to carry out our mission of equipping youth for the future through adventures in nature.

Andrew Young
Executive Director