By: Joshua Massey, Junior at George Washington Carver High School and 6 time POBS alumni. What is Outward Bound? It is challenge, it is adventure, it is self-discovery, and above all it is getting back what you put into it. For three years now I’ve been embarking on these challenges: three 5-day backpacking/rock climbing courses and three 5-day canoeing courses with the Philadelphia Outward Bound School and every time I go back, I find that all those aforementioned qualities are still present. The first time I went out on course I couldn’t stop shaking- a real nervous wreck I was. However, by the time the week ended, I came back having as much confidence and a feeling of accomplishment as a person could have. So when it came time for the next expedition, I remained a little hesitant until I decided to go, holding onto a very inspiring quote: “Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.” With every new challenge, every new adventure, and every solo/reflection time, I find that there’s more in myself to discover by pushing not only my mental boundaries, but my physical boundaries. There’s a reason why I keep going back for more as well as encouraging others to come out: it pushes boundaries in new, exciting and fun ways that you’d get almost nowhere else. Outward Bound is truly a one-of-a-kind organization that prides itself with its plethora of courses and creating better individuals using the four values (Diversity, Integrity, Compassion, and Excellence) and the four pillars (self-reliance, physical fitness, service and compassion, and craftsmanship), all of which were taught by the founder of Outward Bound: Kurt Hahn. Personally, I have to admit that every expedition I’ve endeavored has made me a better leader not only in the wilderness, but in everyday life. While mentioning all the things I love about Outward Bound, I can’t forget to also recognize the amazing instructors who create the challenges and make the group feel like a community. They’re just as stoked as we are about being out on the course. The instructors are, in a sense, the glue of each expedition: training the students, encouraging us to push ourselves, and being the catalyst of a memorable experience. So if you want to be challenged, if you want to become a better-rounded person, if you want to have an once-in-a-lifetime experience, then Outward Bound is just the thing for you. As I’ve said before, and will continue to echo for the rest of my years, Outward Bound is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. Josh will continue raking up his adventures with Outward Bound this summer as a POBS scholarship student on the 14-day Outdoor Leaders Backpack and Canoe Expedition.
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