Open Enrollment Wilderness Expeditions
For nearly 50 years, NCOBS has been delivering wilderness challenge programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. These courses are open to the public, including all of Miami-Dade's citizens - and we provide generous scholarship support to those in need. Whether based in Florida, North Carolina, or Patagonia, our programs deliver lasting life lessons by encouraging participants to safely and confidently step outside their comfort zones through adventure and challenge activities like canoeing, rock climbing, hiking and kayaking in spectacular wilderness areas. Through these activities, students gain important skills for life such as leadership, communication, conflict resolution, and teamwork, and realize they are capable of more than they ever imagined.
Outward Bound FINS Program
Our tuition-free Outward Bound FINS program, delivered in partnership with the FL Dept. of Juvenile Justice, addresses the need for juvenile justice prevention in the greater Miami area where it has served at-risk youth and their families since the late 1990s. FINS is for 12-17 year olds with high risk behaviors such as running away, truancy and ungovernable behavior at home or school. Youth are referred by schools, community organizations and parents. During a challenging wilderness experience, youth reflect on their behavior and their choices and commit to positive change. A follow-up phase ensures the lessons are applied at home and at school. Last year we served 189 families from FL, 72 of whom were from Miami- Dade County. From 2011 - 2013, 90% of FINS alums from South Florida had no adjudications or convictions within a year of program completion, a success rate equal to prevention programs that are two to three times longer and far more expensive.
North Carolina Outward Bound for Veterans
NCOBS first launched courses for military veterans more than 20 years ago. In the past five years, we've seen a 2,000% increase in enrollment from veterans across the US, including Miami-Dade. With generous contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, Veterans courses are tuition and transportation-free. They draw upon camaraderie and the healing benefits of the natural world to help veterans transition home, whether retired from the military or between deployments. While paddling in the Everglades or hiking in the NC mountains, they learn a better life is possible. Research confirms that veterans develop skills that assist them in re-adjusting to life at home. This quote from one of our veterans represents many: "This course has significantly affected each and every one of us in such positive ways. Each of us are now able to leave behind some tough things we've carried for a long time and look forward to moving on to what we now see as bright futures."
Group Education Programs
NCOBS partners with many different schools, colleges and community groups to provide custom courses delivered in wilderness and, when needed, school-based settings. We design unique programs to focus on the educational objectives and developmental needs of specific groups. Last year, more than 325 Florida students participated in these programs, including 250 from Miami-Dade schools. Wilderness-based Group Education Programs start at four days, but longer courses can be designed to meet the group's needs. Depending on the wilderness area selected, activities may include backpacking, rock climbing, rope courses, whitewater canoeing, coastal canoeing, sea kayaking, mountaineering, map and compass use, service projects and leadership training. Some school goals include providing a values-based and team-focused orientation for rising high school students, developing a cadre of school leaders and promoting diversity and inclusion.
Outward Bound Schools have offered Intercept programs for teens and young adults since 1984. NCOBS's Intercept programs in FL and the NC mountains are designed to help struggling teens ages 12-13, 14-17 and young adults 18-24 years old who are motivated to make positive changes. Each year, students attend Intercept from FL, including Miami-Dade, often with scholarship support from NCOBS. The program is designed to address chronic poor school performance, anger management, defiance, low motivation, and high-risk behaviors like drugs and alcohol. In addition to a powerful wilderness experience for the students, the Intercept program involves parents in a seminar and conference with their child to prepare for a successful transition home. These elements focus on teamwork, communication, and leadership skills, helping teens to practice making positive decisions, to find new strength and self-esteem and to learn to create a path to a brighter future.