I looked up "Outward Bound cruelty” on Google curious to see if I could find anyone with a similar experience to my own - interestingly quite a bit came up...
THIS POST SHARES MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCES WITH OUTWARD BOUND.
My experience with Outward Bound was 17 years ago. At that time, I was a pretty normal teenage girl with regular hormonal mood swings, and an enormous appetite for chocolate. Other than that I was one of those artsy kids - never really partied, played soccer, danced, crafted, painted, and read a lot.
- It was my summer holiday just before high school was starting - and my parents put me in a 21 day survival camp. It came out sounding like a mix of camp and fun camp. I loved camping as a child, and I was excited to go, stay in a cabin, make friends, make crafts, learn some survival skills…. ohhhhh how wrong I was… :(
- We were taken to a clearing, given each a small 3 litre bag and told - “please change into pants and a top” after changing “please put only one pair of shorts, one more top, three pairs of socks, two underwear, your tooth brush and tooth paste into this bag”. I did - but also snuck my period pads, and a bar of chocolate :I
- Then they searched our bags :( - they took away my pads and chocolate - I started to cry.... but it I should've saved the crying until things got worse... much worse... nightmare like... horror story like...
The general day - Northern Ontario Forest - the summer of hot humidity and little black flies - the kind that dig into flesh
- Get up super early - brush teeth - eat food - pack up tent / do chores - get equipment ready and carry it to canoes - alternate between canoeing and portaging (taking canoes and all equipment and walking with it to the next area for canoeing) - break for quick lunch - continue as before until dinner - chores / camp set up - cook - eat -wash up - sleep - Long hard albeit kind of fun day until other things happen....
The Nightmare Begins...
- 3 underwear for 21 one days - no soap to wash, and lakes full of leaches - so 3 dirty underwear for 21 days - ewwwwwwww
- Constant wet feet for 21 days - came back with a fungal foot infection :(
- Little black fly (not a normal house fly) - eats into my flesh and begins digging a tunnel through my flesh - have to take a pocket knife and cut into myself to remove it. First time cutting :(
- Have no food to eat the majority of the trip - the majority of food and snacks are lentil, bean and nut based - high protein - makes sense - I am deadly allergic to lentils, peas, nuts, and beans and seeds. No substitutes are made for myself. Thus surviving of oats, rice, and Rice Krispies :O
- Solo - when they put you on a small rock island for 3 days - I believe in prison this is called solitary confinement - except at least you have a shelter and they bring you food - I remember distinctly being given a rope, a tarp, a sleeping bag, a small bag of rice and a small bag of Rice Krispies (everyone else was given bags of trail mix - with nuts, rice, and lentils and peanut butter), 3 matches, and a small pencil a 3 small sheets of paper. I was put on my small 150 square foot island and told to “Survive the next 3 days” - It pissed rain all of those days. So I tied the rope around the trees and placed a tarp over the rope and put my sleeping bag under - and I slept :) yay for sleep!! I was then told by my camp leader that I did a poop job of surviving ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ guess what bitch I'm alive!!
- My group - 6 guys and 6 girls - one of the girls had sex with 3 of the guys and we could hear her having sex at night each night - the camp leaders slept away from us - I voiced my concerns... and was rebuffed by the leaders ¯\_('.')_/¯
- The girls were very strong, and very rugged... they too were wondering how in the hell I was on this camp ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Having to use moss as a pad when I got my period - and using the wrong kind :(
- When I woke up at 2 am to take a pee and stepped on a fallen beehive and heard the swarming- I ran for my life - getting stung twice eventually - and passing out in the woods - turns out I’m allergic to bee stings - waking up from passing out - screaming for help... Seeing the search and rescue helicopter looking for me and knowing that they wouldn’t be able to spot me - the trees here were not only dense but flimsy - not good for climbing. Finally coming to a small stream a day later - thinking water usually leads to community - people - 2 options - go upstream or downstream - going downstream - coming to an area where I see a creepy large looking hunter type man... thankfully he's a nice person - very quiet doesn’t say a word - motioned to his truck - I get in... I was rejoined with my group who were at the base camp and learned that they were planning to call my parents in 2 days to pronounce me missing and presumably dead.
- Going to do a community service day at a nice old lady’s farm - she made us cake!! Yay for cake!!!!! Oh no... It has nuts :( - takes meds - comes back to camp - spends the day vomiting and having diarrhea in an outhouse :(
- Surviving and knowing that I can probably survive anything and that I don't absolutely need others to survive - but this is melancholy because its taken me a while to get to a place where I go no I don't need others but that doesn't mean that I don't want others around - and further, to more truly understand the meaning and need of community.
NOW ASK YOURSELF IS THE ABOVE WORTH $4000.00? Ummmmmm - If you are the outdoors type, super fit and strong, and with no allergies - sure this might be for you. If you want to sign someone else up, make sure they know all the details and if they say no way - that’s not for me - listen to them. Unless you hate them of course :)
If you want to sign a kid up for this - talk to your kid - and make sure they are physically fit enough, because when these guys (Outward Bound) says survival camp, they mean it - if your kid has food allergies especially to nuts and lentils make sure not to send them here.
I personally feel that going WOOFing or Travelling, in a country where the culture and language are totally foreign to you, by yourself or even with a friend or a child or a group of persons is a much cheaper and friendlier option that teaches survival and team building skills.