Our Blog / Blog Posts / Did you participate in an Outward Bound Canada course between 2012 and 2019? Penn State University wants to hear from you!

Did you participate in an Outward Bound Canada course between 2012 and 2019? Penn State University wants to hear from you!

In more than 50 years of guiding youth on outdoor adventures, we’ve seen time and again the amazing impact outdoor education has on developing positive attributes like teamwork, confidence, and leadership. Two studies from researchers at Penn State University now aim to provide empirical evidence to support this.

Understand the impact of wilderness expeditions in character development

The first study aims to explore this in detail by analyzing the similarities and differences between Outward Bound schools around the world and how they affect character development in different cultures and places. 

Although all Outward Bound schools share similar goals, our programs vary by culture and geography in the 34 countries in which we operate. And while character generally means the same thing everywhere, different cultures may have different values that factor into their definition of character.

By examining our programs and their outcomes, this three-year project aims to understand how outdoor education can most effectively help youth develop character and become global citizens, while maintaining and respecting different cultures. 

Exploring how Outward Bound affects the transition from adolescence to adulthood

The second study, in Canada, will examine how Outward Bound experiences contribute to the transition from adolescence to adulthood. To do so, Penn State graduate student Scott Fairley is conducting retrospective interviews with alumni in Canada to find out if, how, and when youth draw on their Outward Bound expeditions as they grow up. – and the researcher needs the help of alumni in Canada.

Who qualifies and how to participate in the research  

Scott is seeking to interview OBC alumni between the ages of 20 and 29 who participated in a wilderness expedition as a teenager (ages 13-19) between 2012 and 2019 with two or more overnight stays.

Your participation would mean reflecting on the impact of the expedition you participated in and sharing your thoughts in a 45-minute interview on Zoom. 

If you meet these criteria and want to participate, please email Scott directly at sjf5729@psu.edu and he’ll provide you with more information. 

At OBC, we greatly value the stories and insights of alumni who can provide positive and/or constructive feedback. This study will help us better understand how our programs impact the lives of youth and how we can achieve even better outcomes. 

More information about the projects

Learn more about the project on Penn State’s website

And if you’d like to dig deeper into this highly interesting topic, read the article Expeditions: Nature, Adventure, and Personal Growth, written by associate professor of recreation, park, and tourism management at Penn State Pete Allison, and published in the College of Health and Human Development’s magazine Discovery.