(Contest Nominee) COLORADO OUTWARD BOUND SCHOOL Transforms the Next Generation of Young Leaders

Citywide Banks employees have nominated seven Colorado charities to compete in its next Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place on Facebook from November 3-17, 2014. The community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. $8,000 in cash donations will be split between nominees based on the voting results. 

Many of us have heard of Outward Bound and know at least a little bit about it. It’s about the outdoors and adventure. But, what you may not know, is that the Colorado Outward Bound School (COBS), a non-profit educational organization founded in 1962, was the first Outward Bound School in the western hemisphere.  It serves people of all ages and backgrounds through challenging learning expeditions that focus on character development, leadership, environmental stewardship, and service to others.

A COBS course helps individuals and teams discover strength of character and an aptitude for leadership needed to serve others in their community and care for the world around them.

“The organization in general is a movement of human potential,” explains COBS Development Director Darcy Struckhoff. “We put students in an environment where they’re really pushed and pulled and tested and they come away realizing that there’s so much more of themselves than they ever thought. We’re really an expeditionary school focused on character and leadership.”

As the pioneer and leading provider of experiential and outdoor education in the United States, the Colorado Outward Bound School offers more than 100 courses throughout the year, across the U.S. and internationally. It serves more than 2,500 students annually, many of whom receive scholarship support provided by individual and organizational partners. As part of the global Outward Bound charter, COBS is part of a nationwide community of more than 1 million alumni, instructors and board members.

The concept came by way of Britain and was championed by four founding trustees, Chuck Froelicher, then the Colorado Academy Headmaster, Bill Coors, Charlie Gates, and Ruth Humphreys Brown. The mission of COBS has been the same for more than 50 years: to change lives through challenge and discovery.

The first expedition was at their original base camp in Marble, CO (population 5 at the time) in 1962. Fifty-five boys from all walks of life set out on a 26-day course with a dawn to dusk schedule of running, rope climbing, weightlifting, marathon hiking, survival camping and icy dips in mountain streams. The boys that left that course were changed from when they started it.

They continued to run boys-only courses until a coed Peace Corps group contacted COBS to partner on courses with their group soon after Marble opened. COBS instructors realized that women could handle the rugged course as well as men. After that, coed courses became the norm.

For years their flagship leadership course was 21 plus days in the wilderness. They’ve since branched out to courses anywhere from eight days to a semester, but their average course is 13 days. Outward Bound also tried to reach more urban children by taking their courses to inner city parks and modifying them to get their philosophy across outside of the wilderness environment.

“But we’ve gone back to our roots as a true expeditionary learning school and we now have the urban students come out to the field with us, and offer scholarships or special programming to get these students out there,” says Struckhoff.

In addition to their traditional, open enrollment programs for students starting at 12 years old and up to those in their 70s, is their Outward Bound Professional Program and their Veterans Program.

Through the COBS Professional Program, they work with non-profit and for-profit groups to run custom team building and leadership courses grounded in the Outward Bound philosophy.

Their Veterans’ Program offers full scholarships to any military personnel with combat experience. About 150 veterans a year are able to attend an eight-day course with all expenses covered.

The nonprofit also offers a Student Opportunity Fund, which offers scholarships. COBS believes every person should be given the opportunity to experience adventure and challenge, develop character and compassion, and learn social and environmental responsibility, regardless of financial ability. These scholarships are based on financial need, student motivation, and the potential to excel on a wilderness course.

COBS students sign up for a course for a variety of reasons but most of them are looking for a challenge, to build confidence, and to develop strong leadership skills.

For older students a sense of reflection and renewal is a big part of it. Every course has a solo component where students are left on their own in the wilderness for one to three days with just a tarp and a journal (and other necessities).

Struckhoff says the unique thing about the organization is that they’ve stayed true to their core values for over 50 years. “We pioneered the expeditionary learning and outdoor education movement here in the US and the fact that 50 years later we continue to do so is really incredible,” she says.

Another Reason to Vote for Colorado Outward Bound
A $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks would provide scholarships to two students on a 21 day wilderness course in Colorado. “By providing scholarships for students you really change the course of their lives.”

The community can best help COBS with financial donations to expand their scholarship program. For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.COBS.org or follow them on Facebook.


How to Give Colorado Outward Bound a Hand-Up

  1. “LIKE” THEM ON FACEBOOK during the November contest (charity nominee with biggest % increase in Facebook followers will receive an extra $500 donation from Citywide Banks)
  2. VOTE FOR THEM on contest voting page at Citywide Banks Facebook page (charity nominee with most votes will get $5,000 donation from Citywide Banks)
  3. POST A COMMENT about what you like about COBS on the Citywide Banks Facebook page
  4. SHARE posts about this contest and COBS with your family, friends, and coworkers

About the Citywide Banks Charity Hand-Up Contest
For more than 50 years, family owned, Colorado focused Citywide Banks has been a passionate champion of our local charities. Our Charity Hand-Up Contests spotlight seven Colorado causes nominated by bank employees. Then, based on a 16-day community vote on Facebook, Citywide Banks splits $8,000 in donations to the nominees. The charity with the most votes receives the top $5,000 donation. Contest voters can also enter to win great prizes, including dinner for two at a top Denver restaurant. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. Full contest details are at www.CitywideBanks.com/contest/.

How to Cast Your Vote – November 3-17, 2014
The contest is open to the general public within Colorado (non-customers welcome to participate; no purchase necessary). The easiest way to vote is online by clicking the “Charity Contest” tab on the Citywide Banks Facebook page at  Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to “like” the bank’s Facebook page to submit a vote/entry online. One vote/entry per person is permitted during the 16-day contest. After voting on Facebook, users can use the sharing buttons to easily invite their Facebook friends to vote for their favorite charity. There is even an added bonus prize drawing for those voters that post the contest on their own Facebook timeline.

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