Our story begins in 1992 when co-founders Nancy Goldenberg, Tim Greenwood and Michael Nutter envisioned a city-based Outward Bound school dedicated to inspiring Philadelphia’s young people with self-confidence and leadership skills. As a satellite site of the Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) and with close ties to what is now the Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School (CBOBS), a small group of passionate Philadelphia Friends of Outward Bound formulated plans, raised funds and made connections in the School District of Philadelphia.

In 1993, they saw the first fruits of their labor when a group of 40 Philadelphia public school students and 8 teachers traveled by school bus to CBOBS in Baltimore to participate in a five-day canoeing course. The first expedition of what was to become the Philadelphia Outward Bound School was launched.

POBS, like other OB schools, has gone through various corporate structures as part of Outward Bound USA national organization. Today we are one of ten, independent, autonomous organizations chartered by OBUSA authorized to provide programs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Northern Delaware.  Over the past 30 years, POBS has delivered Outward Bound’s Educational Framework to close to 100,000 students in outdoor “classrooms” at our locations in Philadelphia, along the Appalachian Trail and across the Delaware River watershed.  POBS is on track to provide programs for 8,000 students in 2022. While the heart of our audience remains young people who attend School District of Philadelphia middle and high schools, POBS is proud to serve a wide range of educational and nonprofit partners.

More About Our History

  • From The Archives: Our Founding - the story of how POBS began as the Philadelphia Friends of Outward Bound.
  • From the Archives: Our First Expedition - how the Philadelphia Friends of Outward Bound planned the first expedition in 1993.
  • More to come! We will be updating this page with more stories, photos, and information periodically. Please bookmark this page to learn more about POBS and our accomplishments over the last three decades.
Students and teachers from Dimner Beeber Middle School who participated in our very first expedition in 1993.


In 1995, construction begins on POBS' first high ropes course in Wissahickon Valley Park.