About Scholarships at COBS
From its very first course, C-1, in Marble, Colorado in June 1962, the Colorado Outward Bound School has been committed to the following principle: Every person should be given the opportunity to experience adventure and challenge, develop character and compassion, and learn social and environmental responsibility, regardless of financial ability.

In 1962, it was Trustees who wrote personal checks to ensure that young people could attend a COBS course. Today, we are grateful to the individuals, alumni, parents, instructors, foundations, and corporations who make scholarships possible for our students.

Our Student Opportunity Fund offers partial-tuition scholarships, and occasionally full scholarships, for our traditional wilderness courses. Additional full scholarships opportunities are available through the ASCEND, Veterans, and other select custom programs.

The population of scholarship students ranges from students who qualify for free and reduced lunch (83% of ASCEND students) to students from middle and lower class homes, who seek the opportunity for leadership, but whose families cannot afford the full tuition for a course. Nearly all of our scholarship funding serves youth age 22 and under on longer wilderness leadership courses.

We are pleased to offer a number of named scholarships for our traditional wilderness courses as well thanks to the support of committed donors. These donors have honored or memorialized family and friends by creating named scholarships at COBS, ensuring that today’s students will be able to access wilderness expeditions. To learn what it takes to establish one of these scholarships, please contact Darcy Lattof, development director, at 303-676-8237 or

For scholarship inquiries, about the student opportunity fund or any of the named scholarships below, please contact the COBS Student Services Department at 303-676-8235. To learn more about our scholarship process for students and their families, please click here.

Our Named Scholarships

The Shawn Forrey Memorial Scholarship
Sean Forrey attended a Colorado Outward Bound School rock climbing course in July 2010 at the age of 16. His experience while on course rock climbing in Vedauwoo, Wyoming was the “best experience of his life,” according to his parents.

Sean lived a life that embodied the Outward Bound philosophy of compassion. He was known to take in others who were struggling and always maintained his generosity, kindness, and sense of humor. He lived to serve and inspire others.

His family looks to carry on Sean’s legacy and touch many other lives by establishing this scholarship. This scholarship is evidence that passion for new adventure and transformation should be possible for all youth, especially those from challenging situations.

Sean Forrey, 19, was born in Denver on October 12, 1993. He died May 18, 2013 in Aurora, Colorado. Sean was an Army Reserve Supply Specialist, E-4, a devout Christian, and rock climbing enthusiast.

The Gruffie Scholarship for Young Women
The Gruffie” Scholarship Fund is established through the generosity of The Brown Family Foundation and many friends, in honor of Gruffie Clough. Friends of Gruffie honored her long history with the school, as both a staff and board member, by creating this scholarship in November 2012. The Gruffie is to be used for scholarship assistance for women ages 16 – 25 to support them in their pursuit of character development and self-discovery.

Young women ages 16 – 25 on wilderness or river courses between 7 and 28 days in Colorado and Utah are eligible. Exceptions may be made for international courses. The scholarship recipient should be willing to participate in an informal mentoring relationship with Gruffie or other female Outward Bound alumni or staff prior to and after her course. The number of scholarships issued each year will depend on the number of applicants and the balance of the scholarship fund.

To support getting women and girls out on course, you can donate to the Gruffie Scholarship.
To read about our past Gruffie Scholars, read on here!

The Tap Tapley Done Good Scholarship
Ernest “Tap” Tapley is a legend. He lived a life most outdoor enthusiasts could only dream of, and was an integral part of establishing the Colorado Outward Bound School. COBS founder Chuck Froelicher shared the following about Tap in 2014:

Tap was absolutely a jack of all trades. He was a muleskinner, a Caterpillar D6— a cat skinner, a trapper, a hunter, a guide, and had been in the 10th Mountain Division, was a bow hunter, and one of the great outdoorsmen. Then eventually I learned he was an artist and played the viola. And he was literally a man of all seasons. And that was an astonishing person to find.

Generations of staff, students, alumni and friends have been building the Colorado Outward Bound School ever since. Tap’s legacy continues in all of us, as he lived his life fully and shared his wisdom and skills with his students.

The Tap Tapley Done Good Scholarship honors Tap’s legacy at the Colorado Outward Bound School. Candidates should have that same jack of all trades mentality and a strong commitment to serve others.

The Victoria Thurber O’Reilly Memorial Scholarship
Victoria (Tory) Thurber attended Colorado Outward Bound School Course C-91 from July 16 to August 8, 1972, at age 19. During that 23-day course, she climbed and backpacked through the Uncompaghre Wilderness of Southern Colorado with a nine person coed patrol led by veteran OB instructor Mike Olive.
Victoria was born on June 11, 1953 and was raised in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.  Following graduation from the University of New Hampshire, she pursued a career in the publishing and financial services industries in New York City.  Her lifetime love of the outdoors and gardening ultimately led to the development of a successful personal landscaping business.

She married widower Matthew O’Reilly and made a home for his three young children and then for two more daughters born to their marriage, first in New York and then in her loved Portland, Maine.
Victoria died in Boston on June 19, 2005 at age 52, after a courageous four-year struggle with ovarian cancer.  She told few people of her illness, preferring those she loved to believe that all was well as she doggedly fought to defeat her disease.  She lived her life with energy, enthusiasm and a joyous anticipation of the uniqueness of every day – and faced her illness and ultimately her death in the same manner.

Victoria’s Outward Bound experience defined a life that epitomized the three elements of the OB motto, “To serve, to strive and not to yield.”  She turned from a career in order to embrace a family that needed a mother; her personal and professional life was characterized by a constant commitment to excellence; and her determination and devoted love for her family carried her to the end of her life with what one of her nurses described as, “a positive attitude, sense of humor and peaceful presence.”  As another friend said, “She embodied only the best.”

This scholarship was established on Victoria’s 53rd birthday by a member of her
C-91 patrol, in the belief that her life and example can inspire a new generation of OB students to do as she did: to live their days well.  And it is in deepest gratitude for Tory’s gift, a friendship that reached across decades, oceans and continents – and that endures ever, even beyond death.

And I am not alone, while my love is near me.
And I know, it will be so, till it’s time to go.
So come the storms of winter, and then the birds in spring again.
I do not fear the time.  Who knows how my love grows?
Who knows where the time goes?