Staff Spotlight: Jason Stout

National Outreach Director


Jason began his Outward Bound career in 2001 and currently serves as the National Outreach Director. In that time he has completed a 78 day Wilderness Semester, instructed courses for at-risk teens, delivered workshops in high schools and universities across the country, and created a national wilderness program for grieving teens for which he has appeared in Backpacker Magazine, front page of the Denver Post, Associated Press, and several documentaries including Mortal Lesson which aired on PBS in 2009.

Did you take a gap year? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I had just returned from a 7 day Outward Bound course for Adults where I realized that I was in need of a major life transition that would take me in a new direction. I knew that if I was going to have a life-changing experience that I would have to do something challenging and out of my comfort zone, so I embarked on a 78 day Wilderness Semester up the Pacific Crest to British Columbia with Outward Bound.

How does your organization differ from other ones in the industry?

Outward Bound is an international educational movement that started more than 70 years ago off the coast of Wales. Our instructors live by the Outward Bound values to serve to strive and not to yield. We don’t just teach for the wilderness, we teach through the wilderness. Our students leave transformed and ready to realize their dreams.

What is one thing you would tell any future gapper?

Do something that challenges you and brings out the best in you.

What would you tell a parent who's reluctant to send their kid abroad?

Sending your “baby” away can be tough for a parent. Do your research and choose a program that is established and has been vetted. Ask to speak to alumni of the program.

What is one common misconception about taking a gap year?

That a gap year is only for individuals who are not ready for college and that taking time off will set you behind. In fact, it’s a more holistic approach to education that better prepares a student for college and beyond. Imagine interviewing someone for a job who has a college education and has successfully completed a challenging 80-day wilderness expedition- it sets them apart.