Outward Bound--from mountain adventures to urban rappelling off San Francisco skyscraper

Jun 22, 2018

Outward Bound participants rapelling off the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Credit Outward Bound California

Join the leaders of Outward Bound California, based in San Francisco as they share their passion for their outdoor adventure programs that include expeditionary-style backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering. Urban adventure challenges include the breathtaking fundraiser--rapelling off the 46th floor of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square (October 12th and 13th 2018).

Interview participants include: Emma Rapp, Director of Communications and Outreach; Amelia Vigil, Events and Communication Manager; Nettie Pardue, Interim Executive Director; Kris Van Giesen, Chief Development Officer, and Amelia Vigil, Events and Communication Manager.

Outward Bound California administrators meet with correspondent Tom Wilmer at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Credit Randi Hair

Outward Bound California's Mission:


As part of an international network of 41 schools worldwide, with 11 in the United States, Outward Bound California (“OBCA”) is a nonprofit educational organization with programs that deliver character development, leadership and self-discovery in the outdoors and urban green spaces with a core mission of changing lives through challenge and discovery.

Wintertime Sierra adventuring with Outward Bound California
Credit Outward Bound California

Outward Bound California, based in San Francisco, brings the life-changing experiences of the Outward Bound educational model to participants from California, across the United States and beyond. 

High Sierra backpacking expeditions are popular with Outward Bound participants
Credit Outward Bound California

OBCA strives to provide equitable and inclusive programming and is diligently working to train our staff to provide culturally relevant and responsive programs for all participants.


OBCA provides programs ranging from 1-65 days in length in both urban and remote natural settings with participants ages 12 and up.  The majority of our programming engages youth ages 12-22 while we also offer options for adults, veterans, and aspiring outdoor educators.

Outward Bound's October 12th & 13th fundraiser includes rapelling down the face of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square from the 46th floor
Credit Outward Bound California

OBCA partnerships with schools and non-profits engage students on shorter courses closer to home and are excellent ways to introduce youth to the learning and challenge of outdoor education and open up access to populations traditionally excluded from these experiences,

OBCA extended, expeditionary-style backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and urban service courses enable participants to gain a greater level of mastery as well as have more opportunities to develop technical skills, receive and implement feedback, and further personal development.  

As a nonprofit organization committed to expanding access to our programming, we provide a scholarship to more than two-thirds of the students who attend a course with OBCA. Since its establishment in 2007, OBCA now engages 2,500 students annually across three distinct program locations – the High Sierra, Joshua Tree, and the Bay Area.  

Outward Bound California:   Telephone: 415-933-OBCA

Website: www.obca.org

Outward Bound of California Voted Best Place to Work by Outside Magazine 2017
Credit Outside Magazine
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Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer winner of the Lowell Thomas Award 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013
Credit SATW Foundation
Underwriting support provided by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul