“Our yearly retreat at Thompson Island is the critical foundation to creating a cohesive team. The students refer back to their experiences there throughout the summer, drawing from the skills and insights they gained almost daily.”

— Northeastern University

Expeditions for school and youth organizations.

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center’s Discovery programs use adventure and challenge in the natural world to help young people realize their potential as individuals, team members, and leaders. Created specifically for schools and community-based organizations, Discovery expeditions serve young people of all physical levels, backgrounds, and experiences from 5th grade through undergraduate college.

New in 2018

Thompson Island is getting back to basics with traditional Outward Bound Expeditions that include backpacking on Thompson Island and sea kayaking through the Boston Harbor.

Program Models


Our custom-designed programs set us apart from other organizations and help each group meet their specific goals and desired outcomes. Discovery Programs guide individuals and teams through an intentional sequence of creative problem solving, collaborative and physically challenging activities while utilizing an extensive selection of low and high challenge course elements.

Course Area

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. Amenities include a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, auditoriums, gymnasium, outdoor challenge courses, and climbing towers.

Discovery Scholarships

The Discovery Scholarship Program is intended to provide team-building and character development experiences to youth organizations from the underserved communities of Boston. This extraordinary opportunity cultivates leadership, character development, and supportive culture that can be transferred back to homes and communities. Organizations qualifying for the Scholarship Program are ones that, much like Thompson Island, have made it their mission to help the underserved youth of the Boston area.

Discovery Scholarships are limited to the summer (July – August) only.

For more information on eligibility, please see our Discovery Scholarship Requirements. If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in applying please fill out the Scholarship Application form.

“I have learned so much on Thompson Island! I got to go to the salt marsh and see so many creatures. Being here taught me that I should take every chance I get to do something new. Thompson Island has opened my eyes and now I know I can do anything I try to do.”

— Miriam, 12 years old, Boston Community Leadership Academy