The Power of Partnership is…
At Outward Bound we empower young people to build courage, discover strengths and cultivate character through transformative, experiential learning expeditions that champion challenge and discovery. But when we say “courage” or “strength” what do we really mean?
It’s true, climbing majestic mountains, rappelling down granite cliffs, or navigating through lakes and oceans takes physical stamina, determination and great tenacity. However, what we are really
talking about is the courage we discover in the midst of vulnerability. When we move through our fears and face our anxieties, despite the unknown, we learn to accept the journey and embrace our authentic selves. In doing so, we often find compassion, and compassion can lead us to healing.
Learning doesn’t get much stronger than that.
While Outward Bound inspires compassion in all students on all courses and programs, we know there are some students who need a special kind of healing. Outward Bound for Grieving Teens is a specialty program that inspires compassion, encourages self-discovery and supports youth and young adults who have experienced a tragic loss.
While many different approaches to grief support exist today, at Outward Bound, we encourage understanding, collaboration and partnership over judgment, struggle and settling for less than we deserve. On Outward Bound for Grieving Teens courses, we facilitate students’ discovery that true partnership is about walking alongside our partner, bearing witness to their struggles without attempting to take away the pain. Essentially, we encourage our students to live through the messy parts of life together. We invite our students to “be there” with who they are and to recognize that they are needed, valued and important to the world in which they live.
We can think of no other partner that has ‘been there’ for the students who experience Outward Bound for Grieving Teens than New York Life and the New York Life Foundation. Since 2010, the New York Life Foundation has contributed more than $1M in support of Outward Bound for Grieving Teens. Through generous program support, this funding covers about 80% of every Outward Bound for Grieving Teens student’s tuition, regardless of financial need. The New York Foundation is committed to making a difference by funding direct service providers, like Outward Bound for Grieving Teens, to help alleviate the grief that many children face in today’s world.
Outward Bound USA is honored by the partnership with New York Life in support of our programs for grieving teens. Those whose lives are changed, however, are the best spokespeople. In the words of Alex P., a recent graduate of an Outward Bound for Grieving Teens course,
“The unhealthy defense mechanisms I'd used to survive as a child slithered into my adult life. It isn't until 10
years after my father's death that I am finally ready to start healing in a real way. My experience with
Outward Bound has become a resource. It's become an unshakable part of my healing.
When I started the program I was terrified that I wouldn't be strong enough, that I would breakdown, that I
couldn't be vulnerable or tell my story. I proved myself wrong from top to bottom. I couldn't have done it
without such amazing support and guidance from the instructors and the community we built at Outward
Bound. I was playing like a child, singing again, feeling comfortable enough to tell my story and cry with
friends. I was learning and building and feeling like a part of something bigger than my grief or my fear. I was
dumbfounded by the beauty this world has to offer. The program challenged me and changed me. I don't think
I've had as much gratitude for anything like I have for the community we built in the backcountry. All I can do
is say thank you to Outward Bound, my life is changed for the better.”