Voyageur Outward Bound School

Voyageur Outward Bound School

About

For over 50 years, Voyageur Outward Bound School has offered wilderness courses in Minnesota and Texas for all ages. In the words of our founder, Kurt Hahn, we show students that "there is more in us than we know." Through challenge and discovery, we help students gain confidence in problem-solving, leadership and risk-taking. Focused on character education, Voyageur Outward Bound School offers the following in remote areas: canoe expeditions, dog-sled expeditions, back-packing, canyoneering, rock climbing.

Website
www.vobs.org
Founded
1965

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Calvin Croll

Job Title
Texas Program Director
Calvin has been working in the field of outdoor and adventure education for the past 14 years. Expeditions he has led include sea kayaking in the US and abroad, canoeing the Canadian wilderness, and dogsledding in Hudson Bay.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Calvin from Outward Bound

My favorite travel memory is being invited to dinner with one of the families in a small border town in Texas. They were so welcoming, just happy to meet new people and share a meal. The kids ran around the outside kitchen while the adults shared stories of the desert that stretched out for miles around.

Everyone there was welcoming and very happy to help us learn about the area. They wanted to feed us a huge dinner even though they were poor. It was a unique feeling I haven't encountered before or since.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I've learned a lot about how to be flexible when unexpected situations arise.

When you're out on a wilderness expedition anything can happen, and not when it is convenient! Being able to stay calm and adapt to a changing environment is great training for any future endeavor.

You learn patience, how to communicate, and how to take care of yourself and the team.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One student I had years ago got in touch to let us know that he had become a successful college graduate after floundering for so long. He said that he never really went camping again, but that the lessons about teamwork and perseverance stuck with him after his course. He attributed his success to how he learned to handle himself during his Outward Bound trip.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

hikers with mountain views

The semester program that starts dogsledding in Minnesota and ends canoeing and backpacking in Texas. These are two of the most contrasting environments in the United States, and it is amazing that students get to travel in both areas. Semester courses also allow for plenty of time to practice skills (72 days) and really master what you are doing. I think that feeling of accomplishment is one of the most important things people take away from their courses.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

We strive to teach a strengths-based curriculum that holds compassion as a top value. That means that every student is assessed not on what they can do, but how they help each other improve. I love watching groups learn to take care of each other throughout the challenges that our expeditions provide.

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