Impact & Outcomes

Outward Bound in Today’s World

Today, our communities need leaders who model belonging, engagement, courage, and reflection. The past few years of pandemic struggle and racial reckoning left our education system facing more challenges than ever to meet these needs. In response, Outward Bound USA is stepping up to meet this demand. 

Our decades of proven best practice and impact make us a partner of choice for schools, colleges, employers, and youth-serving organizations nationwide. Together, our work inspires young people to believe in themselves. 

Outward Bound students everywhere are discovering there are no limits to what they can accomplish when they experience life-changing growth, community, and connection.

Outward Bound Outcomes Survey

The data below is provided by The Professional Learning Lab from surveys of 3,656 students on courses 3 days or longer and across 9 Regional Outward Bound Schools:


of students have gained the courage to face new challenges


of students have committed to making a difference in my world


of students say they can work more effectively in a group


of students feel they are a better person

Of 3,656 students on courses 3 days or longer and across 9 Regional Outward Bound Schools, the % of students that reported improvements in each area, are as follows:

The data represented is from the Outward Bound Outcomes Survey. Permission to use the Outward Bound Outcomes Survey was obtained from PEAR.
This program can change and support how youth interact with ecosystems in a culturally informed way. I enjoyed building deeper relationships with my students and the outdoors.
An Indigenous Environmental Science Teacher
Alum 2022


The Invaluable Role of the Learning Lab

The Learning Lab’s purpose is to continuously improve field staff instruction and the student experience so that every student has the best Outward Bound experience, every time.

During 2022, with support of a two-year grant from the New York Life Foundation, The Learning Lab worked with Regional School program teams on the following initiatives:

Development of two new field instructor and program staff training sessions – Creating the Supportive Environment and Responding to Emotional Dysregulation.

Creation of a new Outward Bound Experience and Development Survey, to measure skill in using best practices for social and emotional development and self-efficacy.

Convening a national mental health taskforce focused on aligning communication to prospective students and guardians, admissions processes, instructor preparation and training, and behavioral expectations.

Launching a newly developed program manual and curriculum for Outward Bound for Grieving Teens courses. After a pilot of the new curriculum, participating students reported higher positive change in empathy, group relationships, self-regulation, staff and student relationships, and teamwork than students on standard Outward Bound courses. For example, 75% of the students reported a positive change in Optimism and 37.5% reported a positive change in Trust. These outcomes suggest that the new Grieving Teens course curriculum is distinguishable from Outward Bound courses in general.

Awarding scholarship funds to support 203 students on courses ranging from 1 to 21 days in length at three Regional Outward Bound Schools.

Delivering an in-person Outward Bound program staff retreat in November where we shared progress on these activities and reviewed course evaluation data. Staff from all ten Regional Schools participated in the Outward Bound Experience and Development Survey (OBEDS), and our evaluation partner, PEAR, helped us consider outcomes from that data. Regional Schools provided valuable feedback to ensure that the tools and materials we are creating are responsive to the needs of staff on the ground.

Funding partnerships like this one with the New York Life Foundation allow Outward Bound to do the critical work necessary to be the educational partner that our communities and families expect us to be.  For further information about funding partnerships, contact us at

The data represented is from the Outward Bound Outcomes Survey.  Permission to use the Outward Bound Outcomes Survey (OBOS) was obtained from PEAR.