After reading "Outward (re)Bound" (HCN, 1/21/13), I couldn't overcome a chilly feeling in response to a student's description of his three-day solo trip in the Rocky Mountains as "so boring." I was saddened by this student's inability to find entertainment in one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in Colorado, and wondered if his response was indicative of a larger systemic problem. If students are so habituated to technology and comfort that they lose invaluable opportunities for curiosity, observation and exploration, the future of this program is bound to be a rocky one.
I commend Outward Bound for returning to "the real deal" of immersion courses for the sake of character building and learning respect for nature, rather than adopting a watered-down version of summer camp. However, as Outward Bound tries to redefine itself and adapt to a changing ethic in our younger generations, I suggest that it also incorporate more natural history teachings. Knowledge fosters appreciation and enhances experiential learning. Students may find more stimulation in nature with greater knowledge of ecology and geology, and in turn develop deeper skills for learning about themselves.
Santa Cruz, California