Keenan Corrigan was in middle school when she first learned about Outward Bound from a magazine and thought, “I want to do that.”
Corrigan became a girl scout and stayed with the program for 12 years, gaining outdoor and camping experience along the way. She then worked in summer camp all through high school and a bit of college.
“After college I wanted to work with youth so I was looking at nonprofit organizations,” said Corrigan. “Around that time I read a book called The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, about life in your twenties. In the book the author talks about having been an Outward Bound instructor and that triggered my memories from middle school.”
Corrigan was working in DC at the time and found out about Baltimore’s Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School. She underwent instructor training there in 2013 and eventually moved to Philadelphia to join the Philadelphia Outward Bound School.
“I have a lot of great memories,” said Corrigan. “My favorite expedition was a 14-day trip with NJYLC [New Jersey Youth Leadership Corps]. It was the longest I’d ever been in the field, and it was challenging in all the right ways. I was lucky to work with a long-time instructor and learned a ton.”
After almost five years working with Outward Bound, Corrigan decided to branch out and began teaching college students entrepreneurship, still working with POBS from time to time to help facilitate certain day programs.
“I like to work with OB Pro [Outward Bound Professional] programs. They’re so much fun, and I learn something every time I do one. The goals are different in Pro programs, because participants come to the table with some clear goals they are trying to accomplish.”
Corrigan also stays involved with Outward Bound by fundraising for the organization, especially for Building Adventure. “I love Building Adventure,” said Corrigan. “It’s such a cool switch from a gala dinner-type event to something more unique and interactive, and to have it culminate in a day that brings everyone together, it’s just such an Outward Bound way to raise awareness and much-needed funds.”
Lately, Corrigan is excited about her new venture working with REI Co-op as Senior Program Manager of Path Ahead Ventures, an initiative to address racial inequities in the outdoors by accelerating the success of founders of color. “This role at REI brings together my personal and professional passions in a very special way,” said Corrigan. “My ability to be successful at Path Ahead Ventures is the culmination of the past 9 years of my working life, of which Outward Bound was an integral part.”
Starting in January 2022, Corrigan is upping her commitment to Outward Bound by joining the board of trustees of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School. “All of us at POBS are excited to have Keenan’s professional expertise and her perspective as an Outward Bound instructor at the board table,” said Meg Wise, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School. “We are grateful for her interest in serving!”
“I will always support Outward Bound,” said Corrigan. “Outward Bound completely changed the trajectory of my life. And working there, I saw first-hand the impact on students who participated. I want to give more people the opportunity to experience what Outward Bound offers, especially to students in Philadelphia.”