“There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less.”

— Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound

A summer unlike any other.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center’s Summer Expeditions deliver exhilarating 8- to 14-day wilderness courses for youth ages 12-17. Set in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area, these adventure-based sailing, sea kayaking, and island expeditions employ physical and emotional challenges to build character, develop leadership, and instill confidence.

Students gain new friendships and a powerful sense of accomplishment, as they live outdoors, explore the natural world, learn camp craft, climb high ropes towers, investigate marine ecology, practice environmental stewardship, work with National Park Rangers, and participate in team-based service projects. 

Program Models

Boston Harbor Sea Kayaking

Young people propel the waters of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area in a two-person kayak, learning paddling techniques, capsize and rescue procedures, weather forecasting, and navigation skills. Marine habitats and shorelines are explored by day, and nights are spent camping among sandy beaches and wooded islands.

Massachusetts Bay Sailing

Casting their sails to the wind, students explore the harbor islands and Massachusetts Bay coastline while living aboard a 30-foot sailboat. Water and shoreline ecology are investigated and seamanship skills are learned, including sail theory, navigation, wind and tide identification, sailing, rowing, and knot tying.

Thompson Island Exploration

Participants spend seven days in our 204-acre island preserve, where they investigate the geology and ecology of forests, salt marshes, and beaches, while learning camp craft, wilderness skills, and environmental stewardship. Adventure seekers test their limits like never before, as they climb the 62-foot alpine tower and high ropes challenge.

Course Area

The Boston Harbor Islands National Park area—encompassing 34 islands, over 1,600 acres, and 35 miles of undeveloped shoreline—invites adventure and exploration of its historic forts, pristine beaches, natural ecosystems, and marine habitats. Located just a mile from Boston, Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area. With 204 acres of undeveloped property, the island has mature forests, meadows, freshwater and marine wetlands, salt marshes, and a variety of important geological features. Amenities include a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, auditoriums, gymnasium, outdoor challenge courses, and climbing towers.

Connecting with Courage: Girls ages 12-13

From facing their fears to speaking up for what they believe in, girls challenge themselves to develop leadership and teamwork skills, as they form new friendships, discover confidence and independence, and develop a powerful sense of accomplishment in the great outdoors.

Courses

Sea Kayaking + ClimbingJune 26 - July 7, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMK-631
Sea Kayaking + ClimbingJuly 15 - July 26, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMK-633
Sailing + ClimbingJuly 15 - July 26, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMS-632
Sea Kayaking + ClimbingAugust 3 - August 14, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMK-635

Passages: Boys ages 12-13

Finding individual strength and learning self-reliance in their passage from adolescent to young man, boys develop the compassion, confidence, and leadership skills to overcome challenges, accomplish goals, and work as a wilderness team.

Courses

Sea Kayaking + ClimbingJune 26 - July 7, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMK-632
Sailing + ClimbingJune 26 - July 7, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMS-631
Island Exploration, Camping + ClimbingJune 29 - July 6, 2016Thompson IslandTTM2-621
Sea Kayaking + ClimbingJuly 15 - July 26, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMK-634
Island Exploration, Camping + ClimbingJuly 18 - July 25, 2016Thompson IslandTTM2-622
Sea Kayaking + ClimbingAugust 3 - August 14, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMK-636
Sailing + ClimbingAugust 3 - August 14, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park AreaTTMS-633
Island Exploration, Camping + ClimbingAugust 6 - August 13, 2016Thompson IslandTTM2-623

Environmental Expeditions: Boys + Girls ages 14-17

Boys and girls embark upon a 14-day sailing expedition, exploring the wonders from Massachusetts Bay to the shores of Cape Ann, which contains some of nature’s richest ecosystems for ocean-bound discovery. Students develop leadership and seamanship as they navigate the coastline, learn outdoors skills, conduct science experiments, and study marine conservation.

Courses

Sailing + ClimbingJune 22 - July 5, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area,
Massachusetts Bay, Cape Ann
TTYS-641
Sailing + ClimbingJuly 14 - July 27, 2016Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area,
Massachusetts Bay, Cape Ann
TTYS-642

“Thompson Island was an incredible, transformative experience for my daughter. I’d even go so far as to say life changing.”

— Parent, Summer Expeditions