Our History

Outward Bound Adventures (OBA) is the oldest non-profit in the nation created and dedicated to providing outdoor education, conservation and environmental learning expeditions for primarily low income, urban and rural youth and their families who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience time spent in wild places and open spaces.

OBA focuses on serving the overlooked, underserved and avoided populations. While OBA did affiliate with the much larger Outward Bound; after two years the two organizations decided it was best to remain separate organizations and there is no affiliation between Outward Bound and OBA.

 Approximately 800 to 1000 young people and their families take part in OBA activities each year on trips ranging from one-day trips to our local forests and monuments to 20-day expeditions in distant wilderness locations. During these trips, they are compassionately challenged physically, academically and emotionally to confront their self-imposed limitations and learn to expand their horizons. OBA trips are known for also bringing diversity to the nation's wilderness areas and encourage the long-term participation among ethnic minority youth in environmental careers and ecological and conservation activities. 

 

Click each photo below to learn more about our history.

Funded largely by the federal government War on Poverty of the 1960's and 70's, OBA's first programs were mainly one-day excursions within Los Angeles County. As interest in the program grew along with the organization's capacity to carry out more ambitious projects, OBA soon began taking its participants on prolonged trips to the High Sierras as well as many other Southern California locations and even out of the country into Baja California wilderness. The programs expanded to include rock climbing, river rafting, kayaking, and backpacking. Each trip also has an educational component through which participants learned about the physical world, conservation, and environmental careers.

 Together the four of them Helen Mary Williams, Bud, and the Criss's fought tirelessly against prejudice, racism, lack of funding and access to make OBA one of the nation’s best and foremost outdoor education programs serving communities who have the least.

Today OBA works with youth and families throughout Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, from all ethnic groups and economic brackets. Its primary focus, however, remains low-income youth of color. The challenges the participants undergo through their OBA experiences, force participants to confront their perception of themselves, and awaken awareness that there are fewer limits to what they can accomplish than they previously thought. Over the years, thousands of young people have taken part in OBA activities. For many of these youth, OBA has been a life-changing experience which has enabled them to assume leadership positions in their communities and careers. Most youth experience increased self-esteem and improved academic performance in all of their subjects.

Check out more of our historical photos below.

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