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  1. #1
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    Default Organized outing advice

    TL;DR - Looking for an Outward Bound-like experience for adults, but without so much "education" rolled in.

    Unabridged Version:
    Three childhood friends (I'm one) - one of whom has been struggling with sobriety and lacks any form of family connection (not me.) We think "disconnecting" him and rebooting his perspective is a good start. Multiple DWI's over the years, driving license gone, has spent time as an involuntary guest of the State for his transgressions.

    We used to go on annual duck hunting trips, but the family property was sold, so that's not an option. There is also the issue with the cabin environment in the evening and the temptations that it could present.

    The "other" guy did Outward Bound in college (Northern Minnesota in the winter, BRRR!) and I can take care of myself in the woods. The loner hasn't spent any time in the woods to speak of, but is the type that if you handed him a loaded backpack and dropped him in the back country for a week you'd come back and find he has redesigned the tent to accommodate a fireplace and barcalounger as well as converting his cook pot and water bottle to a hot shower. In other words, he doesn't need a ton of handholding, just some guidance. We're all in decent shape (could be better, but we're not slugs.)

    My concerns & desires:

    With OWB you pay a lot for "education" that will likely return marginal results for this group, so not an outstanding value for money.
    If we "roll our own" there will be too much familiarity and not enough structure for him to recognize any real benefit with respect to introspection, teamwork, self confidence, connection, etc.
    No religion-based programs. (Insert your favorite joke about an Atheist, a Jew, and an Episcopalian walking in to a bar...) Addressing things from a holistic or scientific approach may be OK.
    10-14 day program (need to give him enough time to become consumed by the experience)
    Flexibility in outfitting: I have "my" stuff, but others will need at least some, if not all, when the time comes. (I might need any specialized equipment.)
    Ability to choose *something* that will present a challenge of some description as part of the program (rock climbing, kayaking, orienteering, ?)
    Nothing snow-centric

    This might not exist, in which case we're prepared to just bite the bullet and go with OWB, hoping that the benefit for our friend makes up for the lack of perceived value.

    BUT, if there's something out there (hard to do a Google search for "something like Outward Bound but not Outward Bound") then I'd love to hear anything that anyone can offer.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Norwell, MA
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    First thing that comes to my mind is N.O.L.E.S.

    Lots of education, but at a level to challenge even experienced outdoor people if you choose the right options. Most people I know that have gone through a NOLES program have come back changed, motivated, and impressed.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  3. #3
    Can you dig it?
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    11-14-2007
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    Check out an ATC Trail Crew, they are free, offer a little adventure, fulfilling hard work and camaraderie. Google Konnarock Trail crew.






    Quote Originally Posted by KCNC View Post
    TL;DR - Looking for an Outward Bound-like experience for adults, but without so much "education" rolled in.

    Unabridged Version:
    Three childhood friends (I'm one) - one of whom has been struggling with sobriety and lacks any form of family connection (not me.) We think "disconnecting" him and rebooting his perspective is a good start. Multiple DWI's over the years, driving license gone, has spent time as an involuntary guest of the State for his transgressions.

    We used to go on annual duck hunting trips, but the family property was sold, so that's not an option. There is also the issue with the cabin environment in the evening and the temptations that it could present.

    The "other" guy did Outward Bound in college (Northern Minnesota in the winter, BRRR!) and I can take care of myself in the woods. The loner hasn't spent any time in the woods to speak of, but is the type that if you handed him a loaded backpack and dropped him in the back country for a week you'd come back and find he has redesigned the tent to accommodate a fireplace and barcalounger as well as converting his cook pot and water bottle to a hot shower. In other words, he doesn't need a ton of handholding, just some guidance. We're all in decent shape (could be better, but we're not slugs.)

    My concerns & desires:

    With OWB you pay a lot for "education" that will likely return marginal results for this group, so not an outstanding value for money.
    If we "roll our own" there will be too much familiarity and not enough structure for him to recognize any real benefit with respect to introspection, teamwork, self confidence, connection, etc.
    No religion-based programs. (Insert your favorite joke about an Atheist, a Jew, and an Episcopalian walking in to a bar...) Addressing things from a holistic or scientific approach may be OK.
    10-14 day program (need to give him enough time to become consumed by the experience)
    Flexibility in outfitting: I have "my" stuff, but others will need at least some, if not all, when the time comes. (I might need any specialized equipment.)
    Ability to choose *something* that will present a challenge of some description as part of the program (rock climbing, kayaking, orienteering, ?)
    Nothing snow-centric

    This might not exist, in which case we're prepared to just bite the bullet and go with OWB, hoping that the benefit for our friend makes up for the lack of perceived value.

    BUT, if there's something out there (hard to do a Google search for "something like Outward Bound but not Outward Bound") then I'd love to hear anything that anyone can offer.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. #4

    Default

    A 2 week hike on the AT might help, so long as it isn't a cold turkey detox hike. That would no doubt go badly. In the long run, only professional help is likely help your friend, but a hike could help motivate him to seek it, or try again if it has failed in the past. It's a complex problem.

    The easiest thing to do would be a 2 week AT hike.. It's close to home and the logistics are easy. If you want to avoid other people you'd have to go out west, at least to the Rockies and that gets to be a bit more of a trip to plan. Either way, you'd have to wait until the spring or summer though

    You may have heard about all the "partying" which goes on along the AT. To some extent this is true, but it's really not much of an issue. Mostly it's a little weed being passed around after dinner to ease the pain and mellow out and done in a reasonably discreet manor. Easy to not see if you don't go looking for it. It's also mostly a thru hiker thing, plan around when they will be passing through in large numbers.

    Summer time weekend hikers are more likely to have liquor with them. Some times in large quantities. Stay away from shelters an easy walk in from the road. Plan to tent, which keeps you away from the shelter crowd and keeps you more integrated as a group.
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  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-13-2017
    Location
    Wilmington, NC
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    A 2 week hike on the AT might help, so long as it isn't a cold turkey detox hike. That would no doubt go badly. In the long run, only professional help is likely help your friend, but a hike could help motivate him to seek it, or try again if it has failed in the past. It's a complex problem.

    The easiest thing to do would be a 2 week AT hike.. It's close to home and the logistics are easy. If you want to avoid other people you'd have to go out west, at least to the Rockies and that gets to be a bit more of a trip to plan. Either way, you'd have to wait until the spring or summer though

    You may have heard about all the "partying" which goes on along the AT. To some extent this is true, but it's really not much of an issue. Mostly it's a little weed being passed around after dinner to ease the pain and mellow out and done in a reasonably discreet manor. Easy to not see if you don't go looking for it. It's also mostly a thru hiker thing, plan around when they will be passing through in large numbers.

    Summer time weekend hikers are more likely to have liquor with them. Some times in large quantities. Stay away from shelters an easy walk in from the road. Plan to tent, which keeps you away from the shelter crowd and keeps you more integrated as a group.
    This was my initial thought - my reservation being that it put "us" in an authoritarian role early in the process. My hope is to establish backpacking as an outlet, then transition to "the guys" (tons of options on the AT or other trails in the NC/TN/GA/VA vicinity.) I think a more structured program would set the tone and give "us" something to call back to in the future. (The expense aspect of going local is definitely attractive to me.)

    He spent a year on the inside for felony DWI and sobriety was a condition of parole, so detox isn't as much of an issue as elimination of temptation.

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