Updates in Response to Racial Injustice

Following the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin, we refocus our compassion to George Floyd’s family and the ever-growing community of activists fighting systemic racism in his name (including countless others for which there has been no accountability). We acknowledge the pain and trauma that remains very pervasive within our community, specifically our BIPOC community. This verdict, a rare, but hopefully new standard of accountability within a broken system, is only the first step towards real justice. It is just one piece of the work necessary to end systemic racism and inequality in our country. This verdict underscores the importance that all of us are needed to step up and continue to stand up, speak out, become anti-racists, and be agents of change.

As an organization, we know that actions are louder than words. By continuing to take a look inward in order to be an organization that is fully equitable and supportive of a diverse staff and student community. We will add updates and action steps here for both transparency and accountability.


Progress Report of Action Steps 2.3.21

To our CBOBS Community,

With the close of the year, we are here to share in on both short-term action and long-term growth areas regarding our anti-racist work at Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound SchoolLooking at the events over the past year it is clear no single action will fix our country’s racist history and the systemic structures which White Americans benefit from. Clear injustices have been seen this year, including the murder of innocent Black Americans, disparity of police response to the attack at the Capitol, and growing learning gap affecting students of color due to a year of remote learning. It affects our coworkers, our students, and our community. Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound in 1941, believed strongly in teaching youth to overcome the disease of spectatoritis. We cannot be spectators in the fight for racial and social justice. Without action, we are complicit. Doing our part to enact long term change and anti-racist ideals builds us all up to be stronger individuals and a stronger Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School.

Our internal equity group, the Bay Equity & Inclusion Group (BEING) took time to review the action steps created this past June. We take this opportunity now to look back at our action plan and share a progress update with our extended crew.
1. Equity Audit
GOAL: Our Bay Equity & Inclusion Group, BEING, will conduct an internal organizational audit to discover opportunity gaps within our physical spaces, curriculum, staff training, pay structures, hiring practices, marketing and promotional material.
 
PROGRESS: This process is an important foundation to uncover blind spots within CBOBS. With the support of the leadership team and board, we chose, instead of an internal audit, thave an external organization come and facilitateWe are excited to contract with Baltimore Racial Justice Action (BRJA) for an organizational equity audit. This will create the initial groundwork and assessment tools for BEING to continue with in the years to follow. Planned for this spring, BRJA will work with us to review HR, our program curriculum, as well as work with our field & administrative staff to provide a series of trainings over the course of the next year. BRJA will meet with and interview a few of our service partners and board members before finally conducting an equity audit for CBOBS. We are looking forward to working with this esteemed organization to create a lasting framework to guide our equity work in the future.
2. Partnerships for Service
GOAL: Service is a pillar of Outward Bound. As we build service opportunities and partnerships for students and staff, we will prioritize organizations that amplify Black voices within our community. 
PROGRESS: This remains a focus as we plan for in-person programming again. With service as a component of all our open-enrollment programming, we know there is future action here. Areas we can continue to build in the meantime include sharing both virtual and in-person local service opportunities to our staff, reviewing partner feedback through our equity audit, and seeking partnership opportunities now, prior to the return of programming.
3. Hiring Practices 
GOAL: We will put a critical eye to our recruitment and retention practices. Through our People and Culture Coordinator, there will be strategy and accountability for equitable practices that invite and support a diverse staff from field instructors, administrative staff, to members of our Board.
PROGRESS: The creation and hiring of our People & Culture Coordinator position in the spring of 2020 has been a major asset to our organization. We’ve since focused on creating equity focused staffing practices are guiding our hiring strategies. This includes how and where we post job openings, as well as how we maintain high staff retention as a priority to building and thriving as a diverse staff.
4. Internal & External Trainings 
GOAL: We will deepen our focus on diversity and equity trainings through BEING’s ongoing training series, annual workshops led by diversity work experts, and scholarship opportunities for continued staff development. 
PROGRESS: Due to a remote year without in-person programming or staff, this goal has had less immediate action, but rather is being incorporated into training plans as we begin to return as a whole staff. In previous program years, external DEI training has been a full day as a part of spring training week. Additionally, BEING prioritized sharing local opportunities, trainings and events throughout the year. This is not enough. As our team plans training curriculum for both field and administrative staff this year, it is a priority that we find ways to ensure racial justice training is on-going throughout the year. We look forward to pivoting this goal from planning to implementation.
5. Staff Forums
GOAL: We will create new channels for all staff to discuss racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion issues facing our organization and the communities we work in. We’ll hold space to inspire further action, and transparency to hold our organization accountable to keep moving forward. Based on our staff’s voice we may add or amend our action steps to better reflect our entire organization. 
PROGRESS: A long time goal of both affinity and ally groups came to life this July. These spaces allow for important conversation and critical thinking (virtually). Our anti-racist ally meetings in particular were able to bring together field staff, administrators, and board members over 6 meetings. We look forward to the growth and momentum of these groups as we bring back our larger staff, and begin to incorporate both virtual and in person options. Additionally, by adding BEING to our website, and continuing this conversation through our blog, we want to keep more transparency about our work and priorities to our staff and community at large.
 

In addition to the work above, this year has been a time of rebuild and review. We’ve rebuilt our entire model to meet students where they are in the most difficult time of learning they have ever faced, one that created even deeper gaps in equity across education. Working closely with school partners has been a crucial part of building a virtual program that is effective in build authentic connection and belonging across a screen. An additional major piece of work has been reviewing our strategic plan and creating a comprehensive equity strategic plan that will guide continued action at Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School. Our BEING team has built this plan to weave in all areas of our organization and programming. In its final review stages, we look forward to sharing it with our community. In solidarity with our Black students, staff, and community, we know our anti-racist work needs to intersectional across the entirety of our organization.

Thank you to our community and crew for your support, your accountability, and your personal action as we all work to fully align our actions with our mission.
#BlackLivesMatter

A History of Statements

January 7, 2021

A statement from Josh Brankman, Executive Director, Outward Bound USA

Dear Outward Bound Community,

With the rest of our country and the world, we watched yesterday as shocking events unfolded at the nation’s Capitol, as a group of rioters violently disrupted what was meant to be the first steps in a peaceful transfer of power for our democracy. Yesterday’s events were disturbing, unprecedented and criminal, and must be condemned in the strongest terms. We do that here and now.

The violence, destruction and treasonous behavior we witnessed yesterday in Washington, D.C. was an attack on American democracy and our founding ideals. While the United States is an imperfect union, it is one, at our best, that can inspire hope for all of us. I am heartened by those who stood up, pushed back, and defended the Capitol as well as those members of Congress who, after it was safe to do so, returned to their work at hand, their constitutional duty, to certify the 2020 presidential election.

We, at Outward Bound USA, are an organization that for more than fifty years has prepared young people to live lives of integrity, service and courage. Courage to confront what is wrong, integrity to act with respect and self-discipline and the sense of service that compels us to positive action. While our country took a step backwards yesterday, we are emboldened by our own mission, core values and commitment to support young people in becoming leaders for uplifting change in their communities. And, we must deepen our work.

As an educational organization committed to the families and communities that we work with, and an organization that strives for improvement every day, we stand with you to hasten our work with young people, educators and our communities to build a society committed to compassion, integrity and equity, in order to get closer every day to that more perfect union. There is much work to be done.

In community,

Josh Brankman
Executive Director
Outward Bound USA

To our CBOBS Community,

We are reaching out to continue the conversation around our organizational steps towards racial equity and justice. Our goal? Sustainable and long term action that fosters a rich, diverse, and equitable community for our students and staff. We will continue to share our journey with you as an invitation to contribute, share, follow along, and hold us accountable for a stronger CBOBS.

We are excited to share the growth of our Baltimore Equity & Inclusion Group (BEING). While it has been a part of our organization since 2018, it has gone through changes to add lasting impact.

The original idea was to take the conversations around equity, inclusion, and diversity beyond the training realm and shift it towards an action-oriented approach. One that is on-going and inward-focused. While we’ve made progress in this area, we know it’s an ongoing process that must remain a priority. Starting with 3 organizing members, BEING launched monthly newsletters and meetings for all staff, organizational trainings around equity and inclusion, and outings to local events within our greater community.

Since then, BEING has grown in energy, people, and goals to further embrace its action- orientated approach. With BEING's new webpage on our site, you can see the work they are up to. Check back in as the page continues to grow and evolve.

As seen above:

This last week of watching our nation protest for justice has started to transition our anger over the murder of George Floyd toward actions for real change. We’ve seen members of our staff join their communities in the streets, build their own fundraisers for black-led causes, and begin serious conversations about our role in this fight as CBOBS, and as individuals. But it’s just the beginning of a long marathon ahead so what are we going to do next?
What has become clear is that we have only reacted to the movement, and our statements are only that – reactive. It’s not important what we’ve done until now because we recognize it’s not enough and there is deep work for us to do. We see a great opportunity in starting our change from within, taking leaps toward becoming an unequivocally equitable, diverse and anti-racist organization. 
Much like the structural rebuilding our society is seeking, these changes won’t happen overnight, but we are going to work every day toward meaningful progress within our organization. We invite you to challenge us (as some of you already have) so we can learn, evolve, and be a more valuable member of the movement. It’s going to take a deep well of persistence, perseverance and a pace of actionable urgency; and we are here to answer that call as an ally to our Black community. 
The action steps below will be published online for full transparency and accountability. Expect to see a Report Card that will review the progress made on the steps below over the next six months, with more action to follow. 
1. Equity Audit
Our Baltimore Equity & Inclusion Group, BEING, will conduct an internal organizational audit to discover opportunity gaps within our physical spaces, curriculum, staff training, pay structures, hiring practices, marketing and promotional material.
2. Partnerships for Service
Service is a pillar of Outward Bound. As we build service opportunities and partnerships for students and staff, we will prioritize organizations that amplify Black voices within our community. 

3. Hiring Practices 
We will put a critical eye to our recruitment and retention practices. Through our People and Culture Coordinator, there will be strategy and accountability for equitable practices that invite and support a diverse staff from field instructors, administrative staff, to members of our Board. 

4. Internal & External Trainings 
We will deepen our focus on diversity and equity trainings through BEING’s ongoing training series, annual workshops led by diversity work experts, and scholarship opportunities for continued staff development. 

5. Staff Forums
We will create new channels for all staff to discuss racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion issues facing our organization and the communities we work in. We’ll hold space to inspire further action, and transparency to hold our organization accountable to keep moving forward. Based on our staff’s voice we may add or amend our action steps to better reflect our entire organization. 
#BlackLivesMatter

As an organization we stand in solidarity with the Black communities across our country and the world - their hopes, dreams, businesses, votes, and pain matter and we’ve waited too long to tell you where we stand.  

"We are crew, not passengers, strengthened by acts of consequential service to others." - Kurt Hahn, Founder of Outward Bound. 

There has never been a more important time to be of service to our communities. Our students, their families, the schools they attend, and the communities they live in require all of us to be more than passengers. Their lives and their futures matter too much and standing with them may be the most important work we can do right now. 

We are not the leaders of this movement for change, but we choose to walk alongside those that are; to listen, to learn, to stand in support and action. We ask that you find a way to do the same — whatever that means for you. Take time to seek learning opportunities around equity issues and privilege, invite conversations with family and friends about the injustices of systemic racism, and research local organizations that are actively working in your community create change. 

Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound School will be sharing posts and conversations from leaders around Baltimore and DC across our social media pages in hopes we can amplify the true voices for change. If you’re moved to action by any of the messages or compelled to donate to a local organization, please do so and share it so others may do the same. 

Be a part of the crew that does not wait for the rest of the world to act.