Journey to Outward Bound

Northwest Outward Bound School has some of the most dedicated staff members in existence and they all have unique stories about how they came to Outward Bound and why they stay here for so long.

Photo by Luke O’Neill

Ina Clark started at Outward Bound in 1990 and served eight consecutive seasons as an instructor. After taking time off when her daughter was born, she joined the Outward Bound workforce again in 2011 as a Program Assistant. Most recently she led an 8-day, women’s sea kayaking trip through the San Juan Islands. Her favorite part of working with Outward Bound is getting to interact with all of the wonderful people. She recalls a former colleague recounting that it is not just the students, also the instructors that are impacted for a lifetime by Outward Bound. Now living in the Methow Valley, she has seen Outward Bound staff and supporters become increasingly ingrained within the local community and strengthen their ties with NWOBS. For Ina, Outward Bound is more than a job – it is a community that has shaped her life and helped her grow into the person she is today.

Anne Morrison got her start in Outward Bound as an instructor, course director, and then Assistant Program Director in Utah. After she moved to Portland in 2014 she sought out NWOBS and started working with the Portland School Programs, then moved into an instructor role at Odin Falls before becoming the Oregon Program Manager in 2017. In this role she coordinates staff trainings, works with the admin team, and supports the courses when they are out in the field. When she’s not working she tries to spend as much time outside as she can to continue her own personal and professional growth because she thinks it’s important for instructors to see the admin team getting outside, pushing their limits, and living the Outward Bound mission.

When she was 20 years old, Robyn Gelfand went on her first Outward Bound course – Leadership Mountaineering in the Colorado Rockies. The course had a big impact on Robyn, as it cultivated her love of the outdoors, showed her the value of being open to new life experiences, and taught her that people are capable of more than they think. A career in marketing took her around the country, and after she landed in Oregon, she decided that she wanted to pursue a different career path that would enable more people to experience the outdoors and have personal growth opportunities. As she reflected on her formative outdoor experiences, Outward Bound stood out and aligned seamlessly with her new goals. In her role as Portland Program Manager, she loves seeing students who were resistant to participating evolve over the course of the program to become more engaged, open, and confident.

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