Since its founding in 1962, OBA, Inc. (also known as Outward Bound Adventures) has engaged more than 70,000 inner-city urban youth and families to the restorative effects of time spent in wild places and open spaces. OBA’s innovative programs have increased environmental knowledge, physically and mentally challenged our youth, helped them understand the value of volunteering and stewardship and its importance in their community, all while learning about the out of door, self-mastery and career opportunities.
On returning home many participants undergo transference of experiences that assist in upgrading academic performance and improving interpersonal skills. OBA is committed to providing access to the outdoors for urban families; to develop an environmental ethic in at-risk and urban youth through challenging learning trips; and to promoting greater diversity in outdoor recreation and environmental careers.
OBA uses the wilderness, urban communities and classroom settings to teach youth and families about the natural world. We engage them in long-term outdoor initiatives and environmental learning activities that promote self-mastery, accountability, health and community service.
Those who OBA serves are all people with high potential for dramatic growth, the potential to become environmental stewards and the ability to help our great outdoors reflect the face of the greater American demographic.
OBA programs are successful because the organization makes it easy for youth and families to experience the advantages of being in the out of doors and wilderness areas. It does so by providing all that is needed to get there – the best of camping equipment (backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, boots, even warm clothes), transportation (we have our own vans), trained adult supervision, life changing programs, healthy food and culturally relevant instruction.
OBA’s core programs are centered on a wide range of in-school and after school programs, one-day, weekend and extended expeditions to natural areas, and workcareer opportunities for youth and young adults. Our programs are designed to connect not only urban youth, but also their families to wilderness and open spaces and to employment opportunities that go beyond their normal consideration.
We believe in “longitudinal engagement” – in keeping youth continually involved in our learning processes. To this end, OBA’s programs are designed to be progressive and provide multiple opportunities for youth to get into the out of doors and into different environments (desert, coastal, alpine and sub-alpine, local, etc.). With a typical OBA program, we may take youth on one day trips, followed by an overnight excursion, extending further to a three-day extended camping and ending with a five-day or longer trip to the Sierras and other locations. OBA program vary according to purpose (educational, stewardship, family camping, backpacking experiences, etc.), resources, location and occasionally – opportunity. Here’s what happens during an OBA program:
These excursions typically occur within a reasonably short distance from the pickup point and may touch upon a variety of environments, including local and regional parks, ocean and tide pools, island visits, mountains (sub alpine), desert, watershed environments and important educational venues within our local cities.
Weekend Extended Trips
We then take youth on weekend overnight outings up to four days to local environments where they will begin learning camping, outdoor work and more extensive environmental education.
Five to 10 Days
Once students complete one to four-day trips, they are ready for our extended trip, usually designed for Spring Break, summer and Christmas holidays allow youth to experience a particular ecosystem or environment more in depth. These excursions both present and past require backpacking and staying outdoors for the most part and include the Sierras, Grand Canyon, Catalina Island, Hawaii and Northern California.
Special opportunities arise periodically. Summer is the time to travel through multiple environments and different education experiences for multiples weeks, and sometimes up to 23 days. We anticipate this type of program will occur more frequently during future summer months as we continue to build our ties with federal land management agencies.