Out Back has been around since 1969 and has evolved into our most powerful expression of our philosophy of simultaneous challenge and support as the core components of leadership training. It fuses Holderness School’s love of the outdoors, commitment to experiential learning, and core values of curiosity, character, and community into an unforgettable wilderness challenge.
It begins early in the junior year, when the junior class begins a series of meetings and training with our faculty Out Back leaders. Then, in March, after a thorough course in wilderness safety, information sessions on everything from the best gear to the right kinds of nutrition, and a few reassuring emails to parents, the junior class disperses into the White Mountains. There, they meet the challenges of an 11-day experience in winter survival skills, orienteering, snowshoeing, winter camping, and above all, team-building. Not only do the students bond with each other and their leaders, but during the three-day “Solo” experience, students are given the opportunity to spend time alone, in the peace and quiet of the woods—a powerful and increasingly rare opportunity for self-reflection.
Generations of Holderness students have discovered endurance, resilience, and self-confidence through Out Back. Ask any Holderness alumni or alumnae about Out Back and you’ll hear not one, but dozens of stories and insights about the Holderness experience that shaped their lives.