Domains of Thriving


The Domains of Thriving framework and tool combines Outward Bound’s 60+ years of experience facilitating life-changing experiences with the latest insight and research on social-emotional development. The Domains of Thriving highlights the four areas of human development that are impacted on an Outward Bound course: Courage, Belonging, Reflection, and Physical Engagement. It also identifies eight specific social-emotional skills that our students are supported to develop: Perseverance, Assertiveness, Group Relationships, Teamwork, Self-Awareness, Social-Responsibility, Self-Regulation and Physical Confidence. Surrounding all of this are our Conditions for Learning, which provide the foundation for transformative learning experiences.


The Outward Bound Outcomes Survey (OBOS) measures self-reported change in key social and emotional skills at the end of an Outward Bound program. Participants fill out the survey after their course and reflect on their skills when they started the course compared to after the course; what is called a “retro-pre and post survey.” Students answer questions like "If I fail to solve a problem, I try again until I find a solution" and "I feel like other students understand me in this group" that are tied to the outcomes we measure below. The OBOS measures 12 key indicators of social and emotional development for young people ages 10-23.

>> Click the expand icon below to get a better view of the "Measuring Our Impact" document below, to read about the impact Outward Bound California students experienced on course.


BELONGING is a sense of connection and inclusion in relationships.

This process involves empathy and a commitment to creating a healthy group. Belonging often involves sharing and trust-building and provides an experience of safety and community.

Key terms associated with belonging: Friendship, love, care, affinity, affection, attachment, kindness


COURAGE is catalyzing strengths in order to take on challenges and risks.

This process involves overcoming physical and/or emotional obstacles, including fear. Courage often requires perseverance or voicing and acting on ideas and opinions, even when unpopular.

Key terms associated with courage: Autonomy, decisiveness, will, determination, perseverance, empowerment, assertiveness


PHYSICAL ENGAGEMENT is experiencing and expressing oneself through the body and its senses.

This process involves physical movement and emotional reaction, including enthusiasm and spontaneity. Physical Engagement often involves an awareness of the needs of one’s body and an understanding of one’s physical abilities and limits.

Key terms associated with physical engagement: Physical activity, energy, body, action, physiological


REFLECTION is examining and questioning one’s actions, roles, relationships and assumptions.

This process involves thinking and meaning-making. Reflection often involves taking a perspective on oneself and others and can be done alone and in dialogue.

Key terms associated with reflection: Understanding, analysis, critical thinking, social responsibility, thoughtfulness, introspection, wisdom, cognitive

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