It is quite amazing to look back at 2021 and consider the obstacles we overcame and the path forward that we forged. In 2021, as the global pandemic subsided, we sharpened our focus and set out to reconnect with students, staff and communities across the United States. As our country and communities reopened, we did not hesitate. And our communities were ready!
Outward Bound Schools across the U.S. welcomed students and partners back to in-person learning. OBUSA’s Safety and Risk Management teams implemented stringent COVID-19 health and safety practices in partnership with Safety Directors and program teams at regional Schools. We got vaccinated, implemented our protocols and went Outward Bound.
View full letter
Demand for expeditions, community and professional programs was strong. High enrollment rates helped us inch closer to our aim of bringing Outward Bound to every student, everywhere. Our successes were not met without challenges. Staffing shortages were felt across the system and will continue to have an impact on our capacity for the foreseeable future. We know we must find new ways to attract a more diverse staff and to train them year after year.
OBUSA’s Professional Learning Lab measured outcomes experienced by our students. We are pleased to provide some of the key findings in this report. Our students shared that their courses were as powerful as they had expected, and our partners asked for more programs to meet the growing demand from the young people they serve.
You and our donor community showed up in 2021, assuring us of the importance of our work and our mission. OBUSA is grateful for a $2.1M grant from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to support the network initiatives to rebuild in 2022 and 2023. Outward Bound, whose impact on so many is more important than ever, is poised to have a deep impact in the coming years.
The end of 2021 marked a transition at Outward Bound USA as Josh Brankman moved on from his role as Executive Director at Outward Bound USA. Josh help build support for regional Schools, advanced outcomes research efforts and pushed our organization to step more boldly into diversity, equity and inclusion work. As we said farewell to Josh, we prepared to welcome Ginger Naylor, as Chief Executive for Outward Bound USA, to guide us on the next leg of our journey.
As we reflect on the power and impact of the last several years, we stand ready to do more to change lives through challenge and discovery, for our students across the country. Our national programming is helping young people and adults rebuild connections with their peers, communities and the outdoors. As a result, our students are thriving. We enter our 60th Anniversary year with grateful hearts for our community and its support and with momentum to meet our next challenge.
Thank you. Sincerely (or Peace, love and chow),