by Mark M Brown, HahnX Co-founder and author of Outward Bound Lessons To Live A Life of Leadership
I loved my years working at Outward Bound. I arrived at Homeplace on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in mid-April. For many years I led an alumni service week, putting winter gear away and preparing for the coming summer canoe season. The lakes were still frozen and we were always the first brigade into the BWCA via canoe, often dragging and poling our boats over the ice to our campsite.
The first loon song was a sign that the season was finally shifting and one morning we'd awaken and the ice would be gone from Birch Lake. Staff would begin arriving for WFR recertifications and training, preparing for our summer season to launch after Memorial Day.
My summers were spent on the trail, as an assistant instructor, instructor, course director, and eventually a member of the Ely Summer Management Team.
I headed south in late September, driving the 2,000+ miles to the Texas-Mexican border and our winter base in Redford. Staff would roll in from VOBS, COBS, NCOBS AND OB Canada. We were a seasoned crew.
I rotated through instructing, course directing, and leading staff/intern training. The course area was vast and I have such powerful memories of driving across Big Bend as the sun began to rise, heading along the river to a climbing site or putting on the Rio Grande in Lajitas to meet a group at Entrance Camp and support them paddling through the rock slide and Santa Elena Canyon. By early April we'd pack up the base and I'd head back north to do it all over again. Those days, weeks, months, years were magic.
I continued to work for various OB institutions in various capacities for more than two decades. My years at Outward Bound, and the amazing people with whom I lived and worked, shaped who I am.
Eventually I Left Outward Bound. But It Never Left Me
Every time I connect or reconnect with current or former staff, I feel the same magic stirring within. Through staff reunions or gathering to mourn the loss of a member of our community, I always find my Outward Bound experience calling me back. You are the best people I have ever known. You mentored me, supported me, trained me, and empowered me to go out into the world and make a positive difference. I am deeply grateful for all that I gained by knowing you.
When I look at my compass it always points back to those times in my life. It always points me home. My story isn't unique. While traveling and promoting my book I had dozens of conversations with former staff. And I heard the same theme--how much we all missed being a part of the magic. There are thousands of us around the world. Imagine what we can do when we come together.
HahnX Is A Homecoming
We are officially launching HahnX, a community based upon the values and philosophies of Kurt Hahn. There are some remarkable projects and partnerships on the horizon and we'll need adept Expeditionary Leaders. We need your experience, wisdom and skill. And above all, we need your compassion. The Earth and humankind are hurting. This is why Kurt Hahn founded all of his educational institutions. For THIS moment.
And though we aren't now that strength which in old days moved heaven and earth, that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To Strive, To Seek, To Find, and Not To Yield. --Alfred Tennyson
(If you're former staff we'd really love for you to join us. We can't promise you bug bites, pre-dawn starts, soggy gorp or midnight camp arrivals. But we can promise you'll be hanging with some really cool people. And you'll have tons of opportunities to bring your gifts and talents to a grateful community. And you'll get to be a part of something that might just change the world,)