I hope that you and your loved ones are safe and weathering the COVID-19 emergency as well as can be expected. All of us at the Philadelphia Outward Bound School wish we could be connecting with our students and partners on the Insight days and expeditions that fill our spring 2020 calendar.
If this were any other year, I would be writing to tell you that our team of talented instructors had just finished a week of team building exercises out on field expeditions and were sitting down for a week of workshops on safety, social-emotional learning, program evaluation processes, and diversity, equity and inclusion. We would be kicking off our spring season at The Discovery Center and our Wissahickon high ropes course, and prepping gear for multi-day expeditions along the Appalachian Trail and Delaware Water Gap for thousands of students.
Instead, we are navigating new and challenging terrain just as you are. While none of us have hiked this trail before, we are following tried and true Outward Bound values: we are committed to the highest safety standards, we believe in our inner strength and resilience, and we are compassionate teammates who offer assistance to whomever needs it. We encourage you to embrace these values too.
While the Philadelphia Outward Bound School staff is working from home, for now, we will be ready to restart our programs as soon as it is safe to do so. Following orders from Mayor Kenney and Governor Wolf, The Discovery Center is closed. Pennsylvania schools are closed indefinitely, and Outward Bound USA has advised that no programs be delivered between now and June 1st.
Until then, we are working to strengthen our organization outside of program delivery. We will be attending Salesforce tutorials, revising curricula and manuals, and connecting with our alumni and supporters online. The next several months will test us, perhaps in ways we can’t imagine right now. But we know our students and program partners will benefit from POBS programming more than ever when the crisis is over and we are determined to be here for you.