Are you getting ready for your first Outward Bound course?
Or maybe you’re still not completely sure whether to apply or not? 🤔
To make your decision and preparations easier, in this blog, we’re going to present you what a typical day on an Outward Bound course looks like.
Let the adventure begin!
Rise and Shine
Sunrise at the Outward Bound camp is one of those experiences that you don’t easily forget.
Birds are chirping, the sun is slowly rising through the woods, filling everything with light and indicating that it’s time to wake up.
Once everyone’s up and about, it’s time to warm up and stretch your muscles. A morning warm-up is essential for preparing your body and your mind for the challenges of the day. Also, it decreases the risks of hurting yourself once you start hiking.
‘I think’, said Christopher Robin, ‘that we ought to eat all our provisions now, so we won’t have so much to carry.’A. A. Milne
A good breakfast after warming up is a must!
It’s the moment to get the energy necessary to keep you going through the day.
What’s better than enjoying an early morning breakfast made with everyone’s efforts? Dividing tasks and responsibilities fosters a sense of community and personal responsibility, which is necessary for a group expedition to succeed.
To pack up the camp as fast as possible and without leaving any traces, your group needs to organize itself and distribute the tasks fairly.
At the beginning of the course, your group will be divided into smaller teams with daily-rotating tasks:
- Navigation team / group leaders: responsible for navigating on the hike, but also for making decisions and ensuring everyone is safe
- Food team: appointed to take care of food, cooking, and cleaning the cooking gear
Although the packed backpacks might look heavy, you soon get used to their weight.
And with every meal, there’s less to carry on your back. 😉
What’s important is that you’ve packed your backpack the correct way and that you’ve brought only what’s necessary for your stay in the outdoors.
OBC courses are held in mountainous and woodland regions of Croatia, so most part of the typical day consists of hiking through astonishing nature.
Get out of Your Comfort Zone
During those hikes, the instructors will sometimes give you some additional problem-solving tasks and you will engage in other outdoor activities. These activities are meant to increase your resilience and your understanding of yourself and your environment.
Accept the Challenge and the Responsibility
However, safety is one of Outward Bound’s biggest concerns.
That’s why the instructors always stay with the group during the course. However, as time passes and the participants become more self-sufficient, the instructors decrease the amount of interaction with the group, switching the focus from teaching to supporting you.
By staying out of the group’s dynamics as much as possible, they let you learn to cooperate and make decisions by yourself, in a safe, but challenging environment.
It’s All About Community
On your OBC course, you will spend several very intensive days with a small group of peers, with whom you’ll share unique memories and possibly make lifelong friendships.
It’s also completely expected and normal that, at some moments, you’ll get annoyed or upset with some of your team members or disagree with a group decision.
At Outward Bound, a lot of time is spent on sharing your experience and perspective with the rest of the group, so in the end, you will probably be able to find some common ground. Disagreeing is what makes you practice acceptance of different perspectives and opinions.
Learning to open up, speak your opinion in a respectful way, and find a way to cooperate, even when you find yourself in a challenging situation, is how we want you to develop your communication skills through your Outward Bound experience.
Arriving at Camp
After you’ve reached the campsite where you’re going to spend the night, you start to set up the bivouacs, place your backpacks inside, collect firewood, and start preparing dinner.
You can set up the bivouac tents easily and fast if all team-members work together efficiently. Don’t worry, the instructors will show you how to set them up, and you will practice tying the right knots before you leave for the expedition.
While one part of the group is setting up the bivouacs, and others are collecting firewood and making fire, the food team of the day starts preparing dinner for everyone.
One of the best feelings of the day is when everyone gathers around the campfire with a bowl of warm food in their hands and a sense of community and pride in successfully mastering another day of the expedition.
Time for the Evening Circle
After dinner, the instructors and participants come together for one of the most important rituals on the Outward Bound course – the evening circle.
The evening circle gives you space to reflect, learn from the experiences of the day, and plan the upcoming day.
It serves to recall everything that happened and to share with each other your experiences and feelings. This is also the moment to give each other feedback and set new goals for the following day.
At the beginning of the course, it will be the instructors who lead the evening circle, but as time passes and the group gets more self-sufficient, the participants will also take over that responsibility.
A Look at the Night Sky
After the evening circle, you can stay some more time by the fire enjoying each other’s company.
You can also go stargazing and admire the beautiful night sky that you don’t get to see in the city.
But don’t forget to get enough sleep before the next day ahead. 😉
“There is more to us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps for the rest of our lives we will be unwilling to settle for less”Kurt Hahn
Although the day might leave you exhausted, you appreciate the chance to get to know your true self and the things you are capable of when you leave your comfort zone and face challenges.
And that knowledge you can take with you, together with all the memories from the expedition.
So, are you ready to join? 😉
👇 Let us know in the comment section below when you’re going to join us on an OBC course!
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7 questions you ask yourself before your child’s first Outward Bound course – answered
Educational outdoor activities
Marija Mažić, mag.paed.soc., educator
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