Course Code: CUMR-331
Start Date: 6/14/23
End Date: 6/23/23
On this course, you descend through carved gorges filled with both calm and wild water. You will dig your paddle to avoid rocks and frothing waves, and exploring memorable viewpoints, as well as yourself. You don’t need to have previous rafting experience to fully embrace this expedition which combines a stunning environment, learning technical raft skills, and developing leadership, community, and personal strength (not just physical).
We know that younger teens represent a diverse group. For some students, Outward Bound is their first time away from home; others are veteran travelers who have attended Outward Bound before. We plan our youth courses to set students up for success no matter where they are starting on the spectrum of the wilderness experience. The mental, social, and physical challenges you will encounter at the Colorado Outward Bound School are real, and facing them is a real accomplishment. These courses provide a structured environment with clear expectations and a daily routine that give you direction so that you can learn and exercise personal responsibility and group leadership skills.
Desolation and Gray Canyons, Utah
Surrounded by the Tavaputs Plateau and bordered by the Uinta and Ouray Reservation on the east, the journey on the Green River begins in Desolation Canyon near Sand Wash. Throughout the canyon, there are spectacular rock formations, archaeological sites and abandoned ranches including McPherson Ranch, once frequented by Butch Cassidy's “Wild Bunch.” The tiered rock walls of Desolation give way to the earthy bluffs of Gray Canyon, creating a striking contrast that characterizes the next 25 miles of the journey.
On longer rafting courses you may continue your journey down the Green River through Labyrinth Canyon, where the river dives deep into the pink sandstone of the Navajo Formation which characterizes southeastern Utah and the Canyonlands area with narrow winding side canyons, orange Wingate cliffs, pinnacles and ledges. These regions are within the ancestral lands of the Ute and Diné Bikéyah nations.
Photo: Harmony McCoy |Ute and Diné Bikéyah lands
What is a land acknowledgment?
At the Colorado Outward Bound School, we include land acknowledgments in our work as a formal way to recognize and respect the traditional territories and Indigenous Peoples as stewards of the land. It is important to understand and acknowledge the comprehensive past, present, and future of the places we travel and to seek to understand our role therein. To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation we give to the Indigenous Peoples who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial. Read more about land acknowledgments at Outward Bound here.
On the river, each day is spent learning to navigate various obstacles and how to anticipate the forces of the current from upstream. You and your companions will work to become a team, coordinating your spacing and paddle strokes. You will have an opportunity to be the captain of your crew and put to use what you’ve learned as you maneuver your raft through Class 2-4 rapids. Interspersed between the rapids are flat-water sections where there is a current, but no whitewater. At times, you will take advantage of this calm water to hone your skills and enjoy the view. Time in a raft is ideal for getting to know each other and forming boat pride, laughing your way downriver as you relax into river life. Afternoons can bring strong up-canyon winds, which create a challenge as you dig in to reach the camping destination. Rafting connects you to the river: the oasis of flora and fauna (including humans!) that rely on the river to survive in the desert. The soaring canyons complement the roar of whitewater, as well as the silences that can only be found in such remote beauty.
Photo: Curtis Huey |📍Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), Diné, and Pueblos lands
Guided Reflection and Transference
At Outward Bound we believe there is no learning without reflection. Throughout course, you will be prompted to reflect on what you’re experiencing on course, and what it means in the greater context of your life. Sometimes this is a journaling exercise, sometimes a group sharing experience, and sometimes a moment of solitude to sit and think. You spend focused time toward course progression end exploring how your new knowledge, skills and attributes can apply to your life after course.
Solo is a time when you’ll get the opportunity to spend time alone during course. With sufficient food and equipment, your Solo will be a chance to reflect on your course experience, journal, and connect with nature. Depending on your course length and environmental factors, Solo can range from 30 minutes to an overnight experience. You will not travel during this time and your Instructors may check on you occasionally. Your solo site will be close enough to your Instructors in case of emergency, but far enough removed to enjoy solitude. Many students are initially nervous about solo, but later recall it as one of the highlights of their course.
A Challenge Event may occur at the end of a student's course experience. These are opportunities to test the perseverance, endurance, and grit that you've developed on course. A challenge event might be individual, like long run or peak attempt. Your event might be a group focused challenge, including long final travel days or group challenges that require all of the skills and teamwork your groups has learned. The purpose of a challenge event is to help students realize the extent of their growth, physically, mentally, and emotionally, and to take home these learnings in an unforgettable way.
Service is a pillar of the Outward Bound experience. On each course, students learn to practice intentional service to themselves, to others and to the environment. This may look like practicing self-care or supporting a crewmate who is having a hard day. Participants also learn to Leave No Trace ethics, practicing service to the environment by preserving and respecting the fragile ecosystems they encounter. Students experience firsthand the social and emotional benefits of acts of service. They are encouraged to bring this ethic of care to their life back home.
Our expeditions help students grow into the best version of themselves. We use adventure in the outdoors to help students discover their strengths and build authentic connections with their peers. Compassion for oneself and others is foundational to the Outward Bound experience. As students develop outdoor skills, they also gain confidence and leadership tools that will last a lifetime. Course outcomes include:
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You can pay your tuition online through your Applicant Portal or make the payment over the phone by calling 720-381-6589.
If your payment is not received by the due date listed in your Enrollment Email and on your Applicant Portal, you will risk losing your spot on course and your $500 deposit. Please review our Admissions and Cancellation Policies.
Airfare, travel costs, and non-refundable tuition payments are expensive. Insurance to protect your trip and course is strongly encouraged. We recommend insuring these costs from the third-party provider InsureMyTrip. This provider has coverage options that include travel costs and non-refundable tuition costs. For more information and to receive a free quote, click here.
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