This month we had dozens of instructors, administrative staff, and board members gather together to celebrate the end of a challenging and inspirational instructor training season, and the beginning of Northwest Outward Bound School’s 2017 wilderness courses! As the sunshine trickled in through the tall, lush forestry and beads of morning dew rolled off our the leaves, staff trickled their way in from cabins, tents, and cars to re-connect with each other and welcome the newest members to join the NWOBS team.
Morning meeting started off with with sharing gratitude for those who worked hard to help each other reach their potential. Including our hard-working, top notch base camp cook, Jess, creating special lunch and dinner meals for resident and visiting staff. After meeting, instructors engaged in continual learning opportunities with staff-led training, including a Diversity training focused on empathy and compassion.
Later, staff showed up in their best-dressed to give it their all in a full-force game of snow-kickball with leftover powder from the North Cascades.
The energy continued as everyone emerged themselves in service projects from building new benches and restoring Camp Dube – where students practice their camping skills on base – to driving back into Winthrop, WA to volunteer with a variety of local non-profits.
Finally, the day resulted in all staff rounded up at the base camp to join their peers in bidding in silent and live auctions. Christa, a Washington Field Instructor, reflects, “I really loved hearing Jamie announce auction items and him talking about what course means to him and to the OB community…just got me psyched for the true OB experience. It’s really inspiring to me – at one point I thought this was an outdoor rec. program, but I continue to broaden my understanding of the true impact that students have and instructors feel.”
From hand-carved paintings made by staff and fresh baked cookies delivered by bike, to personalized magician lessons and one-on-one climbing guidance, staff at NWOBS came together to support each other and give back to our shared mission. “I loved that the auction incorporated school community and the Methow Valley community,” states Emily Nelson, a Washington Logistics Coordinator. Proceeds raised from the auction go directly back towards student scholarships and staff development opportunities to further our ability to change lives through challenge and discovery.
Post-auction, staff are reinvigorated to lead students around the San Juan Islands, through the North Cascades, and along the Salmon River to empower these youth to reach their full potential this summer. when asked what she is most excited for, Megan Fraser, Associate Program Director, says “looking forward to Tier 1 Training – staff in new role or new staff. And to going out to field see them utilize the skills with students, bring our mission to students, and to have high moments and be challenged in ways; I’m excited for people to get back out.”