What is outward Bound
Outward Bound believe in reaching out to people who constantly seek to challenge themselves people with the will to chase their dreams and the zest to drive others forward. Through a wide range of fun and unique activities, Outward Bound brings out the dynamics of teamwork and drives people to go beyond themselves. Outward Bound believes that no obstacles are insurmountable as long as we work together.
Outward Bound Singapore is part of global network of Outward Bound centres and is recognised locally and internationally as a leader in outdoor education and adventure learning.
Outward bound is a learning adventure – one that impels you to discover more about your inner self as it challenges your body, mind and soul to respond to an unfamiliar journey.
It inculcates both mental and physical ruggedness and enables you to be more adaptable to changes and unafraid of the unknown. It also fosters teamwork and prepares you for the service of the larger community.
OBS believe that while life slices and values may be taught in the classroom, they only gain true meaning through real life experiences. Through direct and purposeful outdoor experiences, OBS facilitate their trainees to face adventures and move beyond their personal boundaries to discover themselves.
How Outward Bound (OB) was developed
OB was established in 1941 in UK. Outward Bound’s outdoor education courses are based on the principles learnt from training young British seamen to survive in the North Atlantic Ocean during the second world war. It was inspired by Dr. Kurt Hahn who was a German educator. Dr. Kurt Hahn recognized the needs of Lawrence Holt who is the head of the Blue Funnel Shipping Line which was a merchant shipping company.
During World War II, when Blue Funnle Shipping Line was hit by German torpedoes the new seamen from Blue Funnle Shipping Line could not endure the surroundings in the lifeboat as compared to the sophisticated seamen
Hahn felt that not having enough life experience might be the reason for the Blue Funnle Shipping line to be unable to endure the conditions in the boat during World War II. The German experienced seamen learnt a lot of piratical skills and they also knew how to handle a difficult situation which enabled them to have more confidence and ability to cope with the demanding challenges.
Enhancing the young people confidence and the capacity to cope with life was the main intention of the intensity and mini-life experiences of outward bound
To discover his students true capabilities through life experience that would help them find their greater capabilities, was one of Hahn’s philosophies.
The name Outward Bound was given by Lawrence Holt. “Outward Bound” is used to refer to the flag Papa, flown on a ship when it was soon to leave port. It would be a signal to the sailors to return to the ship if the “Outward Bound” flag was flying. “Outward Bound” literally refers to the moment a ship leave’s the harbour. This symbology remains important in Outward Bound, and participants on courses in many Outward Bound schools today receive a pin lapel of the flag papa.
History of Outward Bound Singapore (OBS)
In 1967, the idea of an Outward Bound School of Singapore (OBSS) was suggested by the Minister of the Interior and Defence and Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association, Dr. Goh Keng Swee. Then, the nation was going through a period of uncertainty and to face challenges ahead, Singapore’s leaders had called for the building of a “rugged society”.
The original school was started by two New Zealanders – Hamish Thomas and Al Cameron in December 1967. It began with the objectives that still form the basis of the OBS today: “To provide education, leadership and character training; developing the physical, mental and spiritual faculties of boys, girls, young men and women of all races of Singapore”.
The management of OBS was moved from the People’s Association to the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in 1971. Besides providing adventure training and leadership training to young men and women, it was an avenue to give ordinary Singaporeans a taste of military life.
OBS was returned to the People’s Association in 1991 and the school was been renamed Outward Bound Singapore. The aim of the school was to offer Singapore’s young people exciting activities to develop their physical and mental ruggedness, personal confidence and leadership qualities.
What is OBS mission & vision, motto and core values?
To develop character, leadership skills and team spirit through direct and purposeful experience in the outdoors
To be a world-class Outward Bound centre for outdoor education and leadership development
To serve, to strive and not to yield
Their core values are:
Safety is the foundation of the OBS. We are committed to the highest safety standard in whatever we do.
We contribute individually and as a team to achieve our vision and mission.
We strive for integrity and excellence in our work and conduct. To be the best in our field of contributions.
We constantly challenge ourselves towards new areas of improvements and growth.
We value our staff. We recognise good performance of our staff and are committed to developing them to their fullest potential.
We value our customers and commit ourselves to constantly deliver excellent quality service. We strive to meet and exceed expectations.
OBS’s target group
OBS does not only target youths, it is for everyone. With the wide range of courses, there will be something for everyone at OBS. OBS courses is customized to meet the society needs. Outward Bound Singapore target groups can be categorized into: Professionals, Youths, Kids and Family and for outdoor enthusiasts.
In the corporate arena, leadership is the key to success and teamwork is essential to getting things done better, faster and more efficiently
Many corporate leaders need to hone their ability to lead and motivate their teams. Through OBS’s specially designed programmes, they will have the perfect opportunity to unleash their true potential and take themselves and their team to new heights.
For executives looking to grow in the areas of leadership, team-building and change management, OBS’s Professional Development Programmes (PDP) has a range of course that will help equip them with skills to overcome future challenges.
At OBS, they believe in helping young people make the most of their potential. Through learning-driven outdoor activities including rafting, kayaking and climbing guided by OBS’s professional instructors, they give youths the opportunity to challenge themselves and develop valuable life skills.
Step out of the classroom and venture beyond the textbook
For kids and family
OBS offers customised programmes for students aimed at fostering independence and interdependence life skills. Making use of outdoor experience such as camping, trekking, raft building, rock climbing and more, these programmes give children the opportunity to learn from each other and develop leadership qualities early in life.
In addition, OBS’s family programmes are designed to maximise quality time together for parents and children in which emotional bonds and family ties can be strengthened.
When it comes to nurturing future leaders, an early start goes a long way.
For Outdoor Enthusiasts
Whether you’re a newcomer to the great outdoors or an experienced outdoor leader, OBS has training programme which will hone your skills and enhance your development
Nothing makes for a better outdoor experience than total confidence in your skills.
OBS programmes are designed to be physically and mentally rugged, the programmes utilise the outdoor settings to develop character, values, mental ruggedness and a community spirit.
By allowing them to learn through focused discussions and practical applications within fun environment, OBS’s programmes complement what the participants have learnt in schools to provide them with a complete learning experience.
Some programmes offered by OBS are:
- Character and leadership programmes
- Global programmes
- Special programmes/Youth-At-Risk
Character & Leadership Programmes
OBS Youth Programmes are drawn out to attract the youth with an action-packed blend of adventures and surprises. Youths develop competencies such as self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship management and responsible decision making as they move progressively through challenging problem-solving activities and expeditions.
- Orientation & Induction Programmes – Esprit de Corps
- My Outward Bound Journey
- A Leader’s Journey
Orientation & Induction Programmes – Esprit de Corps
The Orientation & Induction Programmes aims to build greater understanding and cohesion, school or class spirit in newly formed school cohorts.
This programme focuses on self and team discovery. In Primary four and Secondary One, the students are relatively new to each other. In order to build greater understanding, cohesion, class spirit and strong bonds between the class mates, there is a special designed programme which is specially made for them, which is called “Camp Discovery.”
Character Development Programmes – My Outward Bound Journey
Outward bound programmes is not only an outdoor adventure, it sis essentially an inward odyssey. It helps an individual to find out about his or her capabilities or potential and also learn to improve personal and leadership qualities.
Character building, teamwork , dealing with the unfamiliar, familiarity with Challenge, Initiative, Tenacity and Personal Mastery are what one can gain from My Outward Bound Journey.
Leadership Development Programmes – A Leader’s Journey
By developing the key characteristics and competencies of an effective leader, one can be equip with the knowledge and skills of leadership through A Leader’s Journey by OBS.
The leadership Development not only allows personal growth but as well as acquirement of team management skills. Numerous leadership theories are included in each module and can be included in the Primary Four syllabus. Characteristics and styles of a leader and models of leadership are also used in the programme.
OBS also has overseas programmes. They have partnered with overseas Outward Bound and adventure centres to bring richness of an overseas experience to the participants.
These overseas programmes are designed to give our youth a global outlook in life. OBS aim to inculcate:
An Adventurous Spirit
An adventurous spirit is basically helping youths to:
- Accept and overcome challenges and obstacles.
- Discover new horizons.
- Go beyond their limits.
An Enterprising Spirit
Help youths to:
- Knowledge the value of teamwork, trust, mutual support, leadership in decision making and problem solving skills.
- Become resourceful and creative.
An International Perspective
To help youths to:
- Knowledge the richness of culture, social and economic diversity available in other countries.
The reason why OBS started the Global Programmes was because they wanted to give young people exposure to foreign cultures and environments. Each programme helps youths in building confidence, leadership, tenacity and other personal attributes aimed at helping youths develop a more adventurous and enterprising attitude.
Through a global disclosure the Global Programmes are intended to give youth a global outlook in life, aimed to inculcate an adventurous & enterprising spirit, and cultivate an international perspective. Participants can anticipate an experience that ranges from 8 to 26 days in an abroad centre.
The programmes are categorized into series of the Adventure Challenge Courses.
- Adventure Challenge – A Global Perspectives
- Classic 21-Day Challenge – The ultimate of OB Experience
- Other Customised Programmes
Adventure Challenge – A Global Perspective
OBS takes secondary and tertiary students on an exhilarating Outward Bound journey to Sabah, Perak, Brunei Darussalam, India, Mongolia, Philippines, Croatia, Taiwan and Australia for Adventure Challenge programme.
Having severe expeditions in deep snow conditions in South Korea, Japan and China is a challenge that will be faced by the student leaders given by OBS. Awareness of personal and group goal-setting, planning and coordinating as a group, team development and personal leadership styles are skills that will be developed in the participants through the disclosure to unknown tropical and winter environments.
Classic 21-Day Challenge – The ultimate of OB Experience
To help young adults realize their potential, a mentally and physically demanding course that features a range of activities and challenges are designed. The surrounding islands of Singapore and the rural environment of Pulau Ubin is the classroom of the classic 21-day Outward Bound programme.
The programme uses the journey concept and allows participants to experience an array of elements and multi-expeditions which keep them on the move most of the time.
It will help participants develop their personal attributes and contribution in the context of a group while also exploring their leadership potential.
Other Customised Programmes
OBS is specialized character development and/or leadership development and team development.
OBS alter programmes just to meet the precise needs of their customers. Before arriving at the final conclusion of the programme design, OBS works with their clients to establish objectives, expectations and desired outcome.
These programmes can be targeted at explicit profile groups such as Gifted Education groups, Integrated Programme schools, International schools, Specialized Independent schools, School Staff Training (Teachers/ HODs /Principal) and many more.
Sharing by two students who have attended Outward Bound Singapore’s Global programmes:
“I’ll definitely remember this Outward Bound Course for life because it has given me immense satisfaction. The safety precautions are all kept in check, and I have never once felt that my safety has been compromised. It has indeed been a fruitful experience, and it has helped in shaping my character and building up my ability to adapt to different situations and face greater challenges in my personal, academic and work life.”
– Tong Pei Shan, undergraduate (after completing her South Africa programme)
“I have learnt that as we step out of our comfort zone, we adapt to our new environment and grow stronger in the process, if we were to stay in our comfort zone, we can never be successful in life. This programme to Australia has left great impact on me and I learnt a lot in the 10 days and this is something that cannot be achieved in the classrooms.”
– Chen Libo. Hwa Chong Institution (after completing his Australia programme)
OBS does not only cater to normal youth but also there are programmes that help youths who needs special needs and youths who had once gone through a bad phase in life (youths that had done things which are against the law). The special programmes are:
- Youth at risk programmes
- Special needs programme
These programmes are developed by using programming principles based on psychology and social work research.
Youth at Risk Programmes
These altered programmes are made to help the youth to learn and know more about themselves. Development of life skills and promotion of healthy lifestyles, attitudes and perspectives are also achieved by these programmes.
Basically what this programme aims to do is to instil this phrase in them, “a difficult past does not mean a difficult future.” These programmes might give the youths a fast and good solution on the spot but rather it is helping them to create opportunities to help them discover that the solution they are seeking for is found within themselves and no one else.
Special Needs Programmes
In these programme, the participants may have an intellectual disability, learning disability and or a physical disability. Through this programme these participants with special needs can experience what outdoor is. They will also be able to build self confidence and develop life skills like teamwork, communication and leadership.
Below are some comments shared by the special need programmes participants:
“ Don’t give up easily, persevere, be patient, cooperate…and only we can overcome our fear. There is no way we can overcome our fear if we don’t want to, no matter how much our friends or parents or others encourage us, if we don’t want to overcome it, we can’t.”
“ I learnt that I should be more cooperative towards others and when we make mistakes, the issue is that we should learn how to admit it, learn from it and don’t repeat it again”.
“I learned life lessons – it’s our CHOICE, our LIFE. Learn to walk out of DARKNESS.”
OBS helps people discover and develop their potential to care for themselves, others and the world around them through challenging experiences in unfamiliar settings.
“OBS nurtures the youths to be physically and mentally strong. They develop self-confidence, resilience, leadership and teamwork. They are instilled with the resolve to strive and succeed, and the sense of responsibility to give back to the society. Through the ruggedness of the OBS course, inner strength is built up and values vital to the success of our nation are imbued.”
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
The question is how does OBS benefit the society? The answer is by instilling values in them, by teaching them beyond the classroom. The sense of community service, teamwork, self-confidence, discipline and values inculcated during OBS course are very important for an individual to have.
OBS does not only help youths, it helps the whole society; everyone, from young to middle age to old and even special children (having any kind of disability). One of OBS’s target groups is the corporate world. In the corporate world there will be new challenges everyday and we will need good leaders to lead. Not only do we need a good leader but a good team who can work well with each other and have the “never give up” attitude to overcome any obstacles. Outward Bound Singapore does help companies with this; Outward Bound Singapore’s programmes will have the perfect opportunity to unleash the leaders’ true potential and take themselves and their team to new heights.
Instilling values in oneself is never too early. OBS programmes for kids and family instil leadership qualities in the kids who will one day go into the working world and apply their values that they have learned in OBS. Not only that, OBS strengthens the bond between the family members too.
There is more to learn outside the classroom. Outward Bound Singapore gives the society these opportunities to learn and instil the values which will be life-long and priceless values. They help individuals to overcome their fears, challenge themselves, instil values like perseverance, confidence, discipline, teamwork and also unleash their potential.
All these do benefit the society, it benefits every individual who goes for the Outward Bound Singapore course and I think it will be a life changing experience if one were to go for OBS’s course. OBS is indeed an organization that makes a difference in the society and gets a youth ready for anything in life.
Below are some appreciation shown to OBS by some principals. The reason for putting this in this report is to show how much of a difference can OBS make in the society.
It’s very good programmes organised by OBS for my staff. We enjoyed and picked up some learning points that will be very useful for all of us.
– Mr Yap Juye Long, Principal, Yuhua Secondary School
I enjoyed the morning at OBS very much. I appreciate the meaningful work and experience at OBS. Good place for my staff too.
– Miss Yap Wah Choo, Principal, Nanyang Girls’ High School
Thank You OBS for your hospitality and for being our long-term partner in nurturing our sec 3 students each year, imparting the mental resilience they will need to succeed at their ‘O’ levels and in life.
– Mrs Tan Ming Fern, Vice-Principal, Tanjong Katong Girl’s School
By the sharing of the principal’s and the special children (mentioned earlier in the report) experience from what they have learnt in OBS I hope we all can see how important is or rather how huge impact does Outward Bound Singapore does on an individual which makes up the society.
I would like to end of the report by two sharing which is by Mr Lui Tuck Yew and Outward Bound International (OBI)
“This is an important programme because it contributes to how we prepare our young well for the future. Prepare them well and we prepare Singapore well for the challenges ahead.”
– RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Minister of State, Ministry of Education
“As one of the longest established Outward Bound centres worldwide, your training programmes have contributed to the development of leadership, character and team spirit of Singapore’s youth and future leaders. OB Singapore has been a model global citizen, always willing and able to offer assistance across borders in many ways.”
– G. Kelly O’Dea, Chairman of the Board, Outward Bound International
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