By: Harrison Peluso ’21
The Hurricane Island Outward Bound School (HIOBS) was founded by Peter Willauer in 1964. Wilbauer had a life mission to teach lessons through outdoor exploration. His school offers backpacking, canoeing, and sailing courses. In each course, students spend up to three weeks with a group of strangers that would eventually feel like family.
Groups usually consist of around a dozen students that are isolated from society for the duration of their expedition. This scenario forces each pupil to totally commit themselves to their fellow peers in an effort to endure their course. Being detached is not easy, but this difficulty is what forces the students to learn lessons about leadership, tenacity, and teamwork.
Over the past summer, I attended the HIOBS sailing course. At first, I missed my family and friends; however, in time, I grew more comfortable with the situation, and began to adapt to life at sea. The experiences that I underwent helped eliminate any feelings of isolation I was previously under.
Every year, HIOBS offers these courses to a variety of young students. Additionally, Chaminade High School offers the Outward Bound Leadership Award, which sponsors two students each year by paying for half of each student’s tuition. In the summer of 2019, three Chaminade students—Michael Dolloff ’20, Jack Griffin ’20, and myself—attended the HIOBS. Michael and Jack attended the land courses, while I undertook the sailing expedition. Each expedition is a unique experience, but they all offer the same distinctive Outward Bound learning experiences.
The land course is a combination of backpacking and canoeing. Students come from all over the globe to spend two weeks without any technology.
“While the thought of giving up your phone might put some people off, trust me, it’s worth it. In just one day without my phone, I realized how close I became with my friends,” Jackson Griffin ’20 commented.
Being stripped of technology forces these groups to become a tight-knit family. Each person has a job for the day—cooks, navigators, or shelter builders—which allows for accountability and companionship. The daily struggle and mutual trust between the young explorers are at the heart of the lessons that are learned in these courses.
The Outward Bound courses are a spectacular experience for Chaminade students. They not only promote personal growth, but also act as solid resume boosters on college applications. They demonstrate that a student is curious, and open to new experiences. If anyone is interested in earning this scholarship, he can attend a meeting on Thursday, February 27, 2020 (date is subject to change and room is yet to be determined). There will be an HIOBS representative to explain further, and program alumni will also be present to share their experiences.
For any further questions about scholarship opportunities, students should email Bro. Ryszard Decowski S.M. ‘77 at email@example.com. Further questions about the HIOBS courses can also be directed to creade@HIOBS.org.