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NCOBS Educator Partnership Strengthens Through Endowment

At the North Carolina Outward Bound School’s (NCOBS) Board of Directors summer meeting, special guest Dr. Suzanne Gulledge, clinical professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Education (SOE), spoke about the current state of education reform in North Carolina and the nation. She also spoke about the strategic direction of educational initiatives, highlighting the important role of NCOBS in the School of Education’s programs. In addition to being an NCOBS alumna herself, Dr. Gulledge is Chair of the SOE Faculty and Director of the Masters in Education for Experienced teachers (MEdX) program.

The MEdX program at UNC-Chapel Hill is a two-year master’s degree program for current K-12 teachers. Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Gulledge and others, and to the financial support of NCOBS’ Thomas James Educational Endowment, experiential education—and NCOBS—has become a signature pedagogy of the MEdX program. 

Over the past two years, 40 first-year MEdX students have participated in a seven-day Outward Bound wilderness course as part of their initial graduate course called Reinventing Teaching. Dr. Michael Follo, NCOBS Director of Education and Adjunct Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, works with these teachers before, during and after their wilderness course to help translate the personal and professional lessons of their Outward Bound experience back to a more traditional classroom setting. For more information about the program please contact Michael Follo. 

Serving Those Who Have Served

North Carolina Outward Bound School's service to military veterans has grown exponentially in recent years. There are more than 2.3 million veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars alone. Many of them come home and struggle with unemployment, drug or alcohol abuse, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the everyday issues of re-adjusting to civilian life.

For four years, NCOBS has delivered wilderness expeditions specifically designed to help veterans with these vital transitions. Drawing on the benefits of teamwork, challenge, friendship and the natural world, Outward Bound helps these veterans make strides toward healing.

“My sister, also a vet, went on a sailing course a few years ago when she left the Air Force,” said Sarah Mutter, a recent NCOBS veteran’s program participant, in her personal blog. “When I told her I was struggling with my own separation, twiddling my thumbs and not knowing what to do, she immediately sent me to the Outward Bound website.” Read more. 

NCOBS Staff Members Win Prestigious Awards

Annually North Carolina Outward Bound School recognizes outstanding staff members with the Gray Wolf Award and the Buckley Bearing Awards. Both honors highlight individuals' achievements and overall dedication to the School and its mission.

This year the Gray Wolf Award, which is named after the legacy of Dave Genova and his craftsmanship and passion for the School, was presented to Rhea Cooper. Since 1971 Rhea's smile has been symbolic of NCOBS, whether she was working as the Program Office Manager at Table Rock, supporting rock climbing courses, or most recently greeting friends at the front desk in the Town Office. 

For more than 45 years, Marjorie Buckley has helped chart a course for the school that challenges and inspires staff. The Buckley Bearing Award carries those qualities forward. This year's recipients are Mark Wulff, Program Director at Table Rock Base Camp; Brett Meadows, Resident Course Director at Cedar Rock Base Camp; Lee Gibbs, Lead Instructor with at-risk programs; and Kelly Biasiolli, Course Director, OBP Instructor and Climbing Specialist. (Congratulations to all award recipients!)

NCOBS Board of Directors’ Summer Meeting: Moving Forward while Celebrating Today

In mid-July the Cedar Rock Base Camp is at its busiest: amidst eight crews on course, the base camp staff transformed the breezeway of the main lodge into a meeting hall for the NCOBS Board of Directors. The gorgeous Appalachian Mountains served as our backdrop as Board Chair Deb Caughron and Executive Director Whitney Montgomery led the meeting that highlighted:

• Passing the School’s Strategic Plan for 2013-2018, that will carry us through our 50th Anniversary. 
• Paying tribute to retiring board member Ann Baruch after nearly ten years on our board. Ann represented Philadelphia and the Lowcountry in South Carolina, and she is a stellar fundraiser and the architect of the Regional Advancement Plan. She plans to spend more time with her three grandchildren.
• Welcoming Elizabeth “Ibby” Whitten and the school’s new Chief Financial Officer.  Ibby brings 20 years of business management and consulting to NCOBS, and combined with her MBA from Wake Forest University, she is already taking the school in new directions. When not at NCOBS, she takes time to ride her horse and spend time with her husband and their two daughters in Hendersonville.
• Suzanne Gulledge, Vice Chair of the Teaching and Learning area of the School of Education at the University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill, shared her graduate students’ experiences in the NCOBS-UNC School of Education partnership. (See top story.)