Educators Canoe Expedition

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Educators explore key elements of experiential learning and social-emotional development on a professional development expedition.

Closed for 2023 Season

Five-day Potomac River canoeing course for educators in Maryland, DC, Virginia and West Virginia.

This summer expedition is equal parts rejuvenation and professional development. Participants come from a variety of disciplines in educational settings which allows for meaningful collaboration.

Regional educators will experience an Outward Bound expedition specifically geared towards teachers and youth workers. Participants will work to create a peer learning community that will explore key elements of experiential learning and social-emotional development facilitated by Outward Bound instructors. 

Learning Objectives

  • Explore the history and theory behind this progression
  • Identify how student/teacher roles and interactions differ at each phase
  • Compare TMF and classroom management plans
  • Build a network to strengthen their professional relationships with each other outside of their school.
  • Receive resources for building programs at school

Based on participant input, Educators dive into 2 SEL strategies during the expedition.

  • Belonging: Recognize relationships between belonging and motivation, learning, and behavior, Integrate strategies for facilitating belonging in the classroom
  • Structure: Explore what structure is and how it optimizes the learning environment for ALL students, Identify the key components of structure in the Outward Bound context and how they may apply to your work in schools and other educational programs, Apply the components of structure to create a plan for an upcoming class or unit
  • Questioning Strategies: Describe the impact of broad and narrow questions on student learning and engagement, Discern where questions fall on the broad-narrow spectrum and when to use them, Apply questioning strategies to the context of social-emotional learning in their classrooms

Outward Bound expeditions reply on each participant to contribute meaningfully to all aspects of the expedition. Each day will include a period of learning, discussion, and reflection, as well as canoe travel and campcraft. Participants will learn to navigate the river, cook camp meals, and set up camp areas. No previous paddling experience is necessary.  

The ideal applicant brings an open mind and is up for a new challenge!

Maryland educators can earn 3 MD CPD credits (approved CPD Number: 22-66-08) and available for DC PLU application submission.


- 2023 registration closed.
- Submit the full course fee of $400 to hold your place.
- Applicants will be admitted based on medical and motivational screening and application-fee payment.
- Applicants must be OST youth-serving or in-school educators or school personnel.

Questions? Please reach out to Hanibal Gnahoui at


Participant cost is $400 inclusive of gear, meals, transportation to the river, and expert guidance from Outward Bound facilitators.

Applicants must be comfortable around water and floating in water with a PFD.
Able to paddle a canoe 2-6 hours per day.
Sleep in a tent on a sleeping pad.
Be able to walk on uneven ground, slippery or muddy river banks.
Able to carry up to 40 lbs.
Squatting and sitting on the ground will be necessary.
Reasonable ability to balance (participants will need to get in and out of canoes in the water).

*We can make reasonable accommodations with advance description of needs.

After completing your initial application you’ll received a payment link with information on how to pay by credit card or by check. Once we have your application, our admissions team will reach out to you and request any follow up information or forms that might be required. They will confirm with you once you are fully accepted for course.

Once we reach our crew capacity of 12 total educators, we’ll accept up to 4 waitlist candidates. We ask that waitlisted folks complete the full application and submit any requested follow up forms so we can expedite you onto course should we have an opening. Our admissions team will let you know if your application is in a waitlist status and will reach out should a spot on the course be available. If a spot does not become available, you’ll receive a full refund of your $400.00 payment.

If you withdraw your application within 60 days or more of the course, we’ll refund your $400.00 in full. If you withdraw within 60 days, we will retain $100.00 of your payment and refund $300.00.

Educators Expedition Alumni are welcome to apply, however we will prioritize new applicants and will only admit up to two educators per school / organization.

This course will begin and end at our basecamp in Baltimore. Participants will organize and pack gear at base before driving out to our Potomac River course area.

1900 Eagle Drive; Leakin Park, MD

Outward Bound has an excellent safety record, and the safety of our participants is a top priority. We invest considerable time and resources in training our staff and reviewing our programs to ensure that they meet Outward Bound’s national standards of safety and quality. The accuracy of the information you provide on medical forms is a safety essential. Families will be notified immediately in the case of an emergency.

Outward Bound instructors are highly qualified outdoor professionals and educators, extensively trained and certified in both technical and interpersonal skills. Typical certifications include: Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Lifeguarding, AMGA Rock Climbing and ACA Canoe instruction. An instructor must be certified and have both personal and professional experience before becoming staff. Outward Bound instructors receive an equal level of instruction in interpersonal skills. This includes group management, conflict resolution, goal-setting and action-planning, managing individuals in the field, and judgment training. Instructors also learn curriculum, lesson planning, and natural history. They are taught by Outward Bound staff, through the Blank-Read Training Institute and by other professionals.

Bringing the proper clothing on your program is crucial. After you are enrolled you will receive a welcome packet that includes a clothing list specific to your course. This list has been carefully compiled based on all the weather conditions you may encounter while on your program. Our clothing list reflects the importance of the layering principle. Dressing in several light layers rather than one heavy layer allows you more flexibility as the weather and workloads change. Wool has been the long-time favorite of outdoors people, as it retains much of its insulating qualities when wet. Both synthetic and wool items are available in backpacking stores, surplus outlets and thrift stores. We advise you not to bring cotton clothing, such as jeans or sweatshirts (t-shirts are okay). Cotton retains moisture and loses almost all of its ability to retain warmth when wet. Also, once cotton gets wet, it stays wet and weighs more. Each participant should have a total of two pairs of closed-toe shoes for any course, one pair for daily use and one pair that can get wet.

Please don’t feel that you must buy anything. Outward Bound provides all technical equipment, including rain gear, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, duffel bags, back packs, stoves, food, etc. Even if you bring your own equipment, we may insist you use ours.

Prescription medications must be approved by the Medical Screening Department before the program starts. If you cannot go for 24-36 hours without your medication, in case of an emergency, we recommend that you bring double the amount needed (with written instructions) in separate, non-breakable, waterproof containers.

While on course you will be eating nutritious and portable food – grains, pasta, cheese, vegetables, fruit and nuts – selected to meet high-energy demands for your program. Typical meals include burritos, macaroni and cheese, and tuna sandwiches. The diet may differ from what you are accustomed to at home. To prepare, we suggest you cut down on soft drinks, coffee and junk food.

We are very aware of basic sanitation in the wilderness. You will wash your hands regularly and learn tricks of the trade to staying clean, even though you will not be able to shower. Deodorant is not advised because it has a tendency to irritate skin when not washed off regularly, and the scent attracts many unwanted insects and animals. Personal soap is not necessary, as we provide all you will need.

The course will continue regardless of weather. Instructors will teach students basic safety precautions and protocols. All participants are provided with rain gear for use during the course.

Participants may NOT bring cell phones or other electronic devices on course. The instructor team is equipped with an emergency phone. Participants will not be allowed to place or receive calls during the course.

Sample Itinerary

Arrive at CBOBS Basecamp in Baltimore. Meet your crew, pack gear, and drive out to the river.
Learn campcraft and paddle skills. Dive into the OB philosophy of experiential SEL education.
Learn, discuss, and apply key SEL ideas and practical application. Network and build your learning community.
Dig deeper into content. Consider how experiential social-emotional development can happen in your classroom.
Final learning and reflection. Travel back to basecamp.