Outward Bound International

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Outward Bound International

"The internal vision of Outward Bound International is: To enhance the safety and quality of Outward Bound educational services worldwide and to protect the Outward Bound name." [1]

"The creation of Outward Bound, as with many of Kurt Hahn's other accomplishments, was to some extent serendipitous. The vagaries of war forced Hahn to return to Germany in 1914 where he first met and worked with Prince Max von Baden. Together they were able to start a school, Schloss Salem. The rise of Hitler in the early 1930's and Hahn's outrage over Hitler's behavior resulted in imprisonment and a subsequent exile to Britain. It was here that he was asked to put on a compelling demonstration of the Salem system. He refused to do this in an established English Public school because it would be too difficult to overcome the inertia of tradition. He was strongly attracted to the northeast of Scotland, where he had convalesced while recovering from his sunstroke related episodes. During these recovery periods Hahn became friendly with the Cumming family who later made available the Gordonstoun Estate for Hahn to open a school. In April, 1934, Gordonstoun school was opened with two pupils. A third pupil, Prince Philip of Greece (who later became His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh) joined them in September." [1]


Harold Drasco writes in his 1962 essay "The character builders" (A Decade of Anarchy, Colin Ward, ed.) that:

"It appears that, aside from any disagreement about what defines character, we can now make two major criticisms of the work of the Trust. Firstly, owing to the stress on extreme fitness, competition, the 'conquering of self', and so forth, it seems that in many activities the youngsters are pressed far past the point of enjoyment. Anyone who has talked to a number of unaccompanied Outward Bound parties on the fells will agree that, even allowing for temporary despondencies forgotten in retrospect and for the astonishing resilience of youngsters, a proportion of the boys is disenchanted forever with these pastimes. What proportion this may be would be very difficult to determine but (of the 'conscripts' from industry at any rate) some estimates put it at a majority. And if you believe that the activities are good in themselves and not simply as a means there is an unanswerable failure here. Secondly, for normal adolescents even these neutral pastimes may be given distasteful and (177) irrelevant associations by the clumsy overt emphasis on 'character' and example. Youngsters tend to judge a sport by its practitioners and the way they talk. In mitigation of these criticisms it is important to add that when one is in unspoiled country a sense of freedom is often conspicuously present and a resistance to authority and its precepts may be encouraged by contrast; if the trainees are sent out unchaperoned, Nature subverts the intentions of the character builders at every step. Nonetheless, it seems certain that the basic merits of the activities are in many cases, if not negated, at least severely limited by this general approach." (pp.177-8)




Web: http://www.outward-bound.org

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Birth, Outward Bound International, accessed February 18, 2010.