"My Outward Bound experience probably saved my life. The guides didn't try to psychoanalyze us rather they gave us the time, space, and caring attitude to let us interact with other Vets. They made it clear that they were there to listen if we wanted to talk but also that they could never truly understand what we had been through but that didn't matter. They wanted us to feel safe on a level of our choosing. They were truly interested in our experiences but didn't want us to feel pressured to do or say anything."
- Eric, 2008 OIF Veteran, USMC
Outward Bound for Veterans helps returning service members and recent veterans readjust to life at home through powerful wilderness courses that draw on the healing benefit of teamwork and challenge through use of the natural world.
Servicemen and veterans take part in wilderness expeditions that are physically, mentally and emotionally challenging in order to build the self-confidence, pride, trust and communication skills necessary to successfully return to their families, employers and communities following wartime service. These expeditions purposefully scaffold wartime experiences (carrying heavy packs, sore shoulders, rubbery legs, sleeping out, strange noises, sweat, dirt, frustration and anger) with authentic achievements to create positive emotional and mental outcomes.
Wilderness activities are used as metaphors for daily life experiences in the pursuit of individual and group excellence, illuminating how the support and collaboration needed to meet Outward Bound goals can positively impact participants' interactions with others at home. Many veterans experienced courage, brotherhood and a real sense of power and competence while in combat. Outward Bound gives Veterans and service members the opportunity to re-experience these strengths in themselves in a different context, thus helping them to transition back to civilian life.