This summer TAPS will once again join Outward Bound for a Teen Adventure hiking the Appalachian Trail. Teens ages 16-18 years old who have lost a parent/guardian or sibling will transverse America’s iconic hiking trail learning to navigate their grief journey, to increase personal growth, and build lasting relationships with their peers. Space is limited for this event, so parents please complete the application as soon as possible.
Outward Bound is an international educational movement dedicated to the idea that people are capable of far more than they know. They use experiential education techniques in a supportive yet challenging environment to teach teens that they are capable of more than they ever thought possible.
In collaboration with TAPS, Outward Bound will lead the Teen Adventure, with seasoned backcountry experts who know the area we are hiking and whose primary goal is to ensure safety. The instructors are Wilderness First Responder certified and will be equipped to stabilize medical emergencies. A TAPS youth programs staff member will be on the trail to co-guide the journey, providing emotional support and additional adult supervision.
This is a backcountry adventure where teens will be immersed with their crew and their natural surroundings. Outward Bound asks students to leave their phones (and other technologies) behind in order to benefit from the experience, fully. All guardians should plan on no communication with your teen while they hike the Appalachian Trail. Guardians will be provided with an emergency contact phone number to use in the event of a true emergency. And in accordance to their safety policies and procedures, Outward Bound staff are equipped with satellite phones and will work with TAPS to reach families directly should the need arise.
A packing list will be provided after registration and selection to attend the adventure. You will receive it within one week of being notified that your teen has been selected to attend.
Addtional Information on Outward Bound:
- Baltimore Outward Bound Frequently Asked Questions
- Outward Bound's Program for Grieving Teens
- Example Course Information page (custom page with TAPS course coming soon)
The hiking adventure will begin and end in Baltimore, Maryland from August 20 through August 26.
Teen survivors will journey along the Appalachian Trail with their TAPS family! We will hike deep into the Appalachian mountain range, climb rock formations and gain new outdoor skills. Experienced hiking guides from Outward Bound will join us to make it an unforgettable adventure.
The adventure will start out slow, hiking five to seven miles on the first days, and will build up to a maximum of nine miles per day. Teens can expect to carry approximately 40 pounds.
To prepare for the activity level of this adventure, we recommend a conditioning regimen beginning at least two months prior to the trip. If your teen doesn't have hiking experience, but is interested in this trip, we encourage you to apply.
Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, TAPS is able to provide this event to surviving teens at no cost. Meals and T-shirts for all attendees will be provided. A $50 refundable fee is charged at registration to hold your teen's spot. You will need to cover the cost of travel to and from the meeting location in Baltimore.
Participants will need to cover the cost of transportation to and from Baltimore, Maryland. The closest airport is Baltimore Washington International airport (BWI).
The adventure begins early on August 20. If the distance your teen is traveling requires arrival on August 19, please make arrangements to either travel with your teen, coordinate with someone local to pick him or her up at the airport and check in on August 20, or contact TAPS at email@example.com for other arrangements.
Application open through June 15 or until full, whichever comes first. Space is limited. Attendees will be selected through an application process. Please submit an application for each teen interested in attending. Applicants will be notified of selection or waitlist status. Applicants not initially selected to attend will be placed on a waitlist and notified as space becomes available.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-959-TAPS (8277).