Classic-style courses are the original Outward Bound program. These expeditions are based in the outdoors and teach students technical skills like navigation, camp craft, the basics of backpacking or rock climbing and much more. As students learn these skills in challenging situations, they also learn the value of teamwork, compassion for others and the pursuit of excellence.
Insight: One Day Programs
Insight Days are one-day programs that give participants insight into what is possible. By taking part in activities and challenges that extend their comfort zone, participants experience the power of “I did it,” and discover strength in themselves and in the group. Insight programs can take place at either at the James McLane Family Challenge Course at The Discovery Center or at our Wissahickon Valley Park High Ropes Course. POBS also offers Insight programming at schools, offices, local parks, trails, or recreation centers.
Schools and Groups
Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS) partners with schools, colleges, non-profit and community organizations to create local outdoor and wilderness programs, for youth and adults ages 12 and over, that deeply enrich the learning process through experience and participation. Through collaboration, we deliver inclusive and progressive experiential programs tailored to meet the specific and unique learning objectives and developmental needs of our partners and their learning communities.
Using an experiential model, the Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS) supports the professional development of educators inside and outside of the classroom with an emphasis on strengthening community, incorporating the experiential education cycle, building social-emotional awareness and skills and developing character. Educators will explore theory, practice, and the educator-learner relationship, among other practices. Programs are custom designed to meet the needs of the educational community in support of its growth and that of its students.
The Urban Expedition
The Philadelphia Urban Expedition was designed in the early days of the Philadelphia Outward Bound School (POBS) to offer participants a complete Outward Bound course within the rich cultural, historical and natural environment of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
As Nancy Goldenberg, one of the founders of POBS, explains, “We wanted to create an Outward Bound school in Philadelphia for students in Philadelphia public schools. And the idea was to use the resources of the city to experience Outward Bound — to do Outward Bound in the city. We felt you can get just as much out of an Outward Bound course in an urban area as you could in a mountain or rural area.”
There’s no greater way to build a team and strengthen leadership skills than through Philadelphia Outward Bound School’s Professional Development Programs. Applying high-performing team principles, our programs are designed specifically to help you and your group overcome challenges and expand leadership and teamwork skills.
For more than 30 years, Outward Bound has been proud to deliver wilderness expeditions for our nation’s veterans. These expeditions, customized specifically for veterans and active duty service men and women, are designed to help ease the often difficult transition home by drawing on the healing benefit of the wilderness, teamwork, and challenge.
An opportunity to experience specially crafted outdoor wilderness expeditions with a profound healing component for teens, ages 14 to 18, coping with the loss of a loved one.
Outward Bound Grieving Teens courses implement personal growth methodologies and a simple support model that honors the griever. The grief work that is purposefully woven into every aspect of the curriculum is not intended to provide therapy, but rather to facilitate an environment where young people can connect, build relationships and share in a relevant healing experience with real-world outcomes.
Merit Award Courses
Every year, Philadelphia Outward Bound School offers four fully-funded merit award courses. Admission to these courses is highly selective and includes an application, essay, letters of recommendation, and an interview.
- Get Out and Lead (GOAL) for rising 8th graders residing in Delaware Valley.
- Philadelphia Youth Leadership Corps (PYLC) for students entering grades 10-12 residing in Delaware Valley.
- New Jersey Youth Leadership Corps (NJYLC) for students entering grades 10-12 residing in Northern New Jersey.
- Educators Expedition for educators residing in PA, NJ, or DE.
Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
Founded in 1956 by HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is the world’s leading youth development award with over a million-youth participating in over 130 countries. It is now available to youth aged 14 to 24 in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware exclusively through the Philadelphia Outward Bound School.
The pandemic has transformed our lives at home, at school, and at work. While we’ve learned to adapt, it is no surprise that what we continue to lack are the human connections and social interactions that once fortified our teams and fueled our students’ success. To support our partners through this difficult time, we’ve developed a series of virtual programs for youth, educators, and professionals.
We frequently have Discovery Days, which are open to the public. These days include a rotation of activities such as canoeing, rock-climbing, or ziplining, along with activities led by Audubon Mid-Atlantic. All events are FREE unless otherwise noted. Please click the link above to view the schedule for Discovery Days.