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Cultural Trip Feature: Outward Bound (Part One)

Seven days. Five groups. One big adventure.

This year for fall cultural trips, just as each year before, the 10th grade class made their way northeast to the Bavarian Alps for a week of outdoor adventure hosted by Outward Bound Germany. Outward Bound is a group that teaches students from around the world how to “face new challenges—especially in nature, to learn perseverance, to take responsibility, to show consideration and to work together to expand our boundaries.” With representation “in more than 35 countries worldwide and now, with over 65 years of experience, [Outward Bound is] Germany's oldest experiential educational institution.”

Sunday

At the start of the week, students were divided into 5 groups, each led by an LAS staff member and an Outward Bound guide. While each group followed a slightly different schedule, they all checked off similar boxes: A chance to push physical and mental limits? Check. A technology-free immersion in nature? Check. An overnight camping trip in the height of autumn? Check and check. 

The trip began early on Sunday morning, departing from LAS at 07:30. The bus ride flew by, as we took in the scenery of red, orange, and yellow-saturated trees. We arrive shortly after a stopover in Austria, quickly making ourselves at home in the Outward Bound center.

Monday

We didn’t waste any time getting started on Monday morning. Students handed their phones in before breakfast (to be returned to them later in the evening after the final activity) to encourage group bonding and full, undivided attention to the day’s program. After some icebreakers, we grabbed harnesses and helmets, ready to embrace the first activity of the day: the “Flying Fox” zipline. This first event set adrenaline levels high, readying us for the rest of the day’s activities: wall climbing, tight rope walking, and a number of games and puzzles that required teamwork to solve. To bring an exhilarating day to a close, all groups left for the nearby thermal baths for some rest and relaxation.

Tuesday

There were no signs of slowing down come Tuesday; the main activity of the day was raft building. Students were given a pile of materials: barrels, planks of wood, rope, and a few other bits and pieces. With these supplies, they had one hour to construct a raft that they would be comfortable testing out on a nearby lake. By the end of the 60 minutes, the students began pushing their creations out onto the water—many succeeded, but there were a few instances where crews were forced to abandon ship. Overall, a great deal of fun and laughter was had. 

In the evening, prep work was done to prepare for the next day, when we would head out on our overnight trip. Our group was divided into teams: Food Team, Equipment Team, Navigation Team, and Orientation Team. Each team was responsible for certain duties, all together working towards ensuring a comfortable and smooth overnight trip. 

Wednesday

On Wednesday we were officially outward bound! Our bags were packed, our boots were tied, and our trekking poles were at the ready! 

Tune in next week to read part two… the overnight excursion!

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