About Us

Quote by Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center is a not-for-profit organization that provides outdoor adventure and experiential learning programs for young people from diverse economic backgrounds. Our programs are designed to inspire leadership and teamwork in the youth we serve. Located in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area, Thompson Island is a unique destination for work or play.

The Outward Bound Difference

For more than 60 years, Outward Bound has been delivering adventure and challenge-based courses to youth worldwide. Grounded in the educational philosophy of its founder, Kurt Hahn, the Outward Bound experience seeks to empower young people through hands-on experiences. Hahn believed that “the aim of education is to inspire an enterprising curiosity, an undefeatable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial and, above all, compassion.” Using the wilderness as a classroom, Outward Bound guides students through a journey of self-discovery. By combining learning-by-doing, adventure, challenge and fun within a diverse group of students, we set the stage for them to explore their possibilities as leaders, problem solvers, and responsible citizens of the world community.

Outward Bound’s Educational Framework includes:

 Our core values:  Foundations of course design:  Intended Outcomes:
  • Compassion
  • Integrity
  • Excellence
  • Inclusion and Diversity
  • Learning through Experience
  • Challenge and Adventure
  • Supportive Environment
  • Character Development
  • Leadership
  • Social and environmental responsibility

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center

Serving over 6,500 youth annually, TIOBEC is an independent Massachusetts non-profit and a chartered member of the Outward Bound USA network. TIOBEC is governed by an independent (27 member) Board of Trustees and benefits from the efforts of a (53 member) Board of Advisors with diverse expertise in the areas of business, medicine, law, and education. TIOBEC President, Arthur N. Pearson, manages all operations including a full-time staff of 20 employees, 40 seasonal employees, and more than 600 community volunteers who participate in preservation and maintenance activities on Thompson Island. The President reports directly to the Board of Trustees.

  • Our mission is to provide adventurous and challenging experiential learning programs that inspire character development, compassion, community service, environmental responsibility and academic achievement for early adolescents from all economic and social communities of greater metropolitan Boston, and the institutions and adults who support them.

Thompson Island is one of the largest, most accessible and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. With 204 acres of undeveloped property, the Island has mature forests, meadows, freshwater and marine wetlands, salt marshes and a variety of important geological features. Thompson Island has a formal school campus complete with dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, lab space, library, auditoriums, gymnasium, four challenge courses, and a 62-foot climbing tower. The Island is ideally suited to be Boston’s Island Classroom.

A picture is worth a thousand words. For a virtual visit to the island to see the work and hear our philosophy, watch this video:

Safety

Outward Bound has pioneered safety management processes and procedures that have become the model for the industry. Two primary aspects of our safety management system are our periodic Safety Reviews and our approval process for each new program. Our instructors receive regular, intensive training and most apprentice for a season or more before leading courses. Instructors are certified in Wilderness Advanced First Aid, as a Wilderness First Responder, or as a Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician.

Our safety program consists of a safety policy and national and unit standards that guide all program activity, participant screening and staff hiring. Additional aspects include: instructor manuals with detailed safety requirements, unit safety directors, safety committees, safety reviews, and annual safety reports. Instructors receive a background check before being hired.

Youth Programming

Thompson Island Outward Bound carries on the Outward Bound tradition in Boston by serving early adolescents from the metropolitan area. At Thompson Island Outward Bound we offer wilderness expeditions, peer leadership and environmental education programs, and customized programs for school and community groups.

Our Mission

Thompson Island Outward Bound is a not-for-profit organization whose primary purpose is to provide adventurous and challenging experiential learning programs that inspire character development, compassion, community service, environmental responsibility and academic achievement. Our organization principally serves early adolescents from all economic and social communities of greater metropolitan Boston, and the institutions and adults who support them.

Established

As Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center in 1988.

President and CEO

Arthur N. Pearson

Governance

TIOBEC is governed by an independent (25 member) Board of Trustees and benefits from the efforts of a (53 member) Board of Advisors with diverse expertise in the areas of business, medicine, law and education. For the full list of Board members click here.

Not-For-Profit Educational Organization

501(c)3

Funding

Through the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations we are able to provide programming to more than 6,500 young people annually. In addition, our enterprise activities help fund our youth programs:

  • Outward Bound Professional: corporate teambuilding and leadership development programs for adults.
  • Island Conference Center: special events and conference services.

Financial Performance

Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center has demonstrated strong financial performance since beginning implementation of our strategic plan in 2009. Our audited financials show positive cash flow from operations in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and we have no debt. In 2011, annual philanthropic support increased 9% and overall giving grew by 25% including generous early gifts to our capital campaign. Earned revenue also grew by 25%. General and administrative expenses are 11% of total expenses. Our endowment of approximately $5M is professionally managed and overseen by a committee of trustees and advisors predominately composed of professionals from the investment industry. For a full copy of our most recent audited financials click here. For a full copy of our most recent 990 click here.

Location

Located just one mile from downtown Boston, Thompson Island is one of the largest and most ecologically diverse islands in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area.

Island Features

  • 204 acres
  • Formal School Campus
  • Classrooms, dining hall, gymnasium, and dormitories
  • Four challenge courses
  • A 62-foot climbing tower
  • Two salt marshes
  • Beaches, forests, and meadows
  • Marine life, such as hermit crabs and harbor seals

Public Access

Ferry access to Thompson Island for Group Programs, Weddings, Events and Conferences is available throughout the week and year-round by appointment.

Thompson Island is a private island with limited access for the general public. Public access is available from the EDIC dock in South Boston on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Click here for the Summer Public Access ferry schedule

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Thompson Island Outward Bound Education Center