Outward Bound

My time spent in the wilderness taught me that I am capable of more than I would have believed, but also how reliant I am upon the help of others. My teammates demonstrated to me the importance of lending a compassionate ear and the selflessness of true leaders. - Grace Doerfler, Suzanne and Walter Scott Foundation Scholar, Class of '22

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Wilderness Leadership Experience

In partnership with the Voyageur Outward Bound School in Ely, Minnesota, the Notre Dame Scholars' Program offers the opportunity for a large majority of merit scholarship recipients to participate in a one-week Wilderness Leadership course in the Boundary Waters. Scholars go on course during the summer prior to their first year at Notre Dame. 

The Outward Bound Wilderness Leadership experience is a crucial first step into the holistic leadership curriculum for merit scholars at Notre Dame. During the week, scholars are led by guides through the Boundary Waters and work together in teams to build trust, community, and leadership skills. 

Through the experience scholars:

  • Learn new skills
  • Develop resilience
  • Live in the moment
  • Reflect on the past
  • Contemplate the future
  • Grow in respect for nature
  • Forge bonds with fellow scholars

In 2019, seventy first-year Notre Dame Scholars from eight scholarship programs attended the fully-funded Outward Bound canoe expedition. 

In 2020, the annual Outward Bound excursion was canceled due to health and safety concerns stemming from the the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the ongoing pandemic and the University’s policies curtailing travel, the Notre Dame Scholars’ Program has suspended all enrichment-funded travel for the 2020-2021 academic year. A decision has not yet been made on whether or not we will be able to offer Outward Bound in summer 2021.