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Expeditions

A Summer Unlike Any Other


Thompson Island Outward Bound aspires to unleash the potential in every student. We encourage young people to push themselves beyond their perceived limits, tackle new challenges and achieve their goals. Instructors emphasize skill-building, leadership, teamwork and fun. Students return home from their summer expeditions with new insights, developed confidence, determination, a sense of responsibility and compassion for others.

The term ‘Outward Bound’ comes from the days of tall ships and refers to the moment a ship heads for the open seas, leaving the safety of the harbor behind. Our Outward Bound student expeditions mirror this philosophy in its experiential learning paradigm as we encourage students to take similar journeys within themselves.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Summer Expeditions

Thompson Island Outward Bound delivers Summer Expedition youth programs in the Thompson Island/Boston Harbor course area for students enrolled in the Boston Public Schools district and other established school group partners. For more information and to apply, email [email protected] or call 617.830.5131.

For all other individuals, Outward Bound continues to provide a wide variety of programs for all ages throughout the country and internationally, through other Outward Bound schools and centers. Please visit outwardbound.org or call 866.467.7651 for more information.

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5-day Backpacking Expeditions


Overview

Instructors promote active participation in all aspects of a Backpacking Expedition such as cooking, setting up shelters, making group decisions and reflecting on experiences. Participants spend five 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.

Backpacking Expeditions teach students about challenge and accomplishment. They learn that by choosing their path, instead of letting it choose them, they can go further than they ever imagined. By taking part in Thompson Island Outward Bound’s summer expeditions, students discover their true abilities and potential- and gain a genuine sense of achievement.

Course Focus

This student expedition focuses on building positive relationships as students learn to live and work with their peers in a wilderness setting. Through the use of group initiatives, daily job chart, community-based travel and living, and climbing opportunities, students will begin to identify and develop the skill sets needed to communicate, resolve conflicts and work together productively.

Students will also be afforded opportunities to practice building appropriate and positive student-adult relationships through the instructors’ use of tone setting, maintenance of group and individual safety, regular individual check-ins, and continued support of the students as they transition through the phases of expedition and group development.

Available to

Rising 7th and 8th graders enrolled in the Boston Public Schools district

Courses

Activity: Dates: Course area: Course #:
Backpacking + Climbing June 29 - July 3, 2020 Thompson Island, Boston Harbor CXE20-501
Backpacking + Climbing July 13 - July 17, 2020 Thompson Island, Boston Harbor CXE20-502
Backpacking + Climbing July 27 - July 31, 2020 Thompson Island, Boston Harbor CXE20-503
Backpacking + Climbing August 10 - August 14, 2020 Thompson Island, Boston Harbor CXE20-504

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7-day Kayaking Expeditions


Overview

Instructors promote active participation in all aspects of this Kayaking Expedition including cooking, setting up shelters, making group decisions and reflecting on experiences. As student’s skills progress, they will face new challenges such as crossing open water or reading ocean currents.

The everyday challenges and adventures of Kayaking Expeditions teach students to go beyond the limits of their preconceived capabilities. Students learn they are stronger than they thought and leave their summer expedition being able to access that strength in their everyday life.

Course Focus

This seven-day student expedition will compel young people to show resilience and further develop their relationship-building and critical thinking skill sets as they kayak throughout the Boston Harbor Islands. Each crew is made up of ten students who travel in two-person kayaks; they learn paddling techniques, capsize and rescue procedures, weather forecasting and navigation skills. Marine habitats and shorelines are explored by day, and nights are spent camping under the stars. Students will also be given the opportunity to climb our high ropes challenge course.

Available to

Rising 7th and 8th graders enrolled in the Boston Public School district

Courses

Activity: Dates: Course area: Course #:
Sea Kayaking + Climbing June 29 - July 5, 2020 Boston Harbor Islands National Park CXE20-701
Sea Kayaking + Climbing July 20 - July 26, 2020 Boston Harbor Islands National Park CXE20-702

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Explore The Island

Boston's Island Classroom

Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. 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. Our amenities make Thompson Island ideal for school trips, class retreats and educational field trips. Amenities include a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, auditoriums, gymnasium, outdoor challenge courses and climbing towers.

(Click Map Hotspots to Explore)

Explore The Island

Boston's Island Classroom

Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. 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. Our amenities make Thompson Island ideal for school trips, class retreats and educational field trips. Amenities include a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, auditoriums, gymnasium, outdoor challenge courses and climbing towers.

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Erosion Bluff
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West Salt Marsh
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East Salt Marsh
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Learning Zone (Microwilderness)
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Gable Orchard
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Classrooms
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Ferry
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Bowditch Grove High and Low Ropes Course
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Kayaking (Boston Harbor)
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Campsites
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Intertidal Zone
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Challenge Field
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Dormitories
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Erosion Bluff

This is one of multiple geologic sites students visit on the island formed by earth’s natural processes- erosion, deposition, weathering, etc. Experimentation and collecting evidence gives students hands-on opportunities to discover how the island continues to be shaped by those forces.

West Salt Marsh

Digging deep into the intricacies of the salt marsh, students explore how energy and matter move in an ecosystem. Students examine organisms through guided inquiry and exploration to collectively construct a salt marsh food web.

East Salt Marsh

Digging deep into the intricacies of the salt marsh, students explore how energy and matter move in an ecosystem. Students examine organisms through guided inquiry and exploration to collectively construct a salt marsh food web.

Learning Zone (Microwilderness)

Through investigation and observation, students learn about adaptations in the world of insects. Using engaging scientific tools, students collect insects to discover how certain variations can lead to increased survival in an ecosystem

Gable Orchard

Fun and exciting low ropes obstacle course elements are found in Gable Orchard. Students work together to get their team over walls, problem solve to get through a spiders web, communicate to balance the whale watch and much more.

Classrooms

Classroom lessons introduce students to scientific concepts through hands-on demonstrations. Students practice making and recording scientific observations, forming relevant questions and making connections to prior knowledge. Practicing these skills prepare students for their island experience.

Ferry

The Motor Vessel Outward Bound (our ferry) leaves from the EDIC dock off of Drydock Avenue in South Boston. The 25 minute ride through the Boston Harbor to Thompson Island is always a highlight for groups visiting the island.

Bowditch Grove High and Low Ropes Course

Partners or trios work together to utilize their team's strengths to get up the Giants Ladder- a high ropes course vertical ladder. In Bowditch Grove students also participate in our ground-based low ropes obstacle course elements.

Kayaking (Boston Harbor)

Groups propel the waters of the Boston Harbor in two-person kayaks to learn paddling techniques, capsize and rescue procedures, weather forecasting and navigation skills.

Campsites

Students spend their backpacking course exploring the island preserve, where they investigate geology and ecology of forests, salt marshes and beaches, while learning camp craft, wilderness skills and environmental stewardship. Nights are spent at various raised platform tents or in shelters around the island.

Intertidal Zone

Students travel to the Intertidal Zone to learn about trophic levels- producers, consumers and decomposers. Exploration allows students to encounter a wide variety of organisms in order to examine how the unique roles of each trophic level help energy flow through the ecosystem.

Challenge Field

The Challenge Field consists of two Alpine Towers- 62’ tall, self-supporting structures that provide unique group challenges. They’re the ideal high ropes challenge course elements to foster team building, improve communication skills and develop self esteem.

Dormitories

Students sleep in dormitories separated by gender, typically on separate floors or in different buildings. Adults stay in the dorms with the students- either our staff, or the adults who accompany the students to the island. Our dorms range in size from 2-5 beds per room and feature nice, clean wooden single beds.

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