CARTAGO, Costa Rica— July 30 2017: Since 2009, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) has partnered with Outward Bound Costa Rica (OBCR) to provide a unique cross-cultural experience for their students. The partnership brings two world-class organizations together to share complementary areas of expertise and create an exceptional program that neither organization could accomplish on its own.
While some take leisurely abroad programs in Europe, HIOBS students are thrust into the action—learning from off-the-grid diverse cultures, experiencing beautiful landscapes, and breaking down boundaries of their physical and mental limitations across three countries in North and Central America.
A typical expedition dives into five outdoor adventure phases: 21 days sailing off the Florida coast, 20 days surfing and earning whitewater rafting certifications in Costa Rica, and 22 days in Panama scuba diving and sea kayaking along the Bocas del Toro archipelago.
Luke O’Neill, an HIOBS Field Instructor since 1990, is a veteran when it comes to witnessing student growth through each expedition. “That’s what keeps me coming back,” he expands to say, “It’s a powerful model for creating runways for students to start exploring their own leadership potential; to be immersed in situations where you get to practice your leadership skills, which very few programs offer.”
The coastal and river environments of Costa Rica provide a perfect backdrop to expand Hurricane Island students’ outdoor wilderness skills: a variety of tropical microclimates, immense biodiversity, mighty rivers, and spectacular beaches. HIOBS and Outward Bound Costa Rica have been working with their students that desire to strengthen their technical abilities in outdoor recreation for more than 20 years.
Outward Bound offers more than just an outdoor adventure.
“I always see Outward Bound as this mirror where you get to see how beautiful you are, how gifted you are, and see what the future might hold,” says Luke.
As an instructor, Luke has come to notice that students choose to go on an Outward Bound course hoping to spark a change in their everyday lives.
What they gain from a course transforms into so much more:
“This course really helped me stay productive and feel good. I needed a lifestyle change.” –Matt Mahoney, age 20 from Chicago
“I learned that I want to be a positive role model in my community.” –Colvin Warburton, age 19 from Florida
“I am going back to college knowing what I want to do.” –Jonathan LaTour, age 20 from New Hampshire
“I learned I am confident and capable of more than I knew.” –Joey Miller, age 19 from Indiana
After 65 days, three countries, and two outdoor certifications, students return to Hurricane Island Outward Bound School with added survival instincts, Whitewater Rafting Technician and Scuba Diving certifications, international friendships, and a newfound sense of purpose and drive.
“It’s all about discovering your inner potential,” says Jim Rowe, Executive Director at Outward Bound Costa Rica.
“So many people, especially young people, are capable of a lot more than what they give themselves credit for. They walk into our programs with one kind of mindset and walk away with a whole different way of looking at themselves. That’s really what Outward Bound Costa Rica and this partnership is all about,” he added.
Hurricane Island Outward Bound School and Outward Bound Costa Rica are part of an international network of Outward Bound organizations founded in 1941 by German educator, Kurt Hahn. Today, Outward Bound runs programs for youth, adults, and groups in more than 30 countries around the world.