If you are a prospective partner, please contact Eli Fox, Outreach Coordinator.
If you are interested in learning more about opportunities to fund access to outdoor experiences, please contact Matt Patchell, Development Officer or make a gift designated to "Pinnacle Scholarship Program."
What Is The Pinnacle Scholarship Program?
The Pinnacle Scholarship Program isOutward Bound’s signature scholarship program, founded in California in 1992.The program provides full-tuition scholarships for highly motivated youth from under-resourced communities to attend an Outward Bound wilderness course.
After a competitive application process, participants embark on a 10 to 24-day summer wilderness course in the High Sierra. After the course, each scholar will have a 6-month follow-up survey or phone call to discuss the course experience and how the skills and experiences have transferred home.
Current partners of Outward Bound California may nominate highly motivated youth from their schools or organizations to become a Pinnacle Scholar. Youth are then required to fill out an application form. Applications for 2022 are open now!
If you're a current partner of OBCA and would like to learn more, contact Eli Fox, Outreach & Alumni Manager, at [email protected].
Please review our COVID-19 Practices page for details on OBCA's pre-course requirements, and our on-course policies.
Pinnacle Scholarship: Applicants will be selected to participate on our 14-day expedition for Pinnacle Scholars. These scholarships are offered to youth (ages 14-17) from under-resourced communities in California who are personally motivated to attend an Outward Bound course, and for whom a scholarship would remove financial barriers.
Course Location: High Sierra
Course dates: July 10-23, 2022
Activities: Backpacking, Rock Climbing
Pinnacle LGBTQ+ Scholarship: Applicants will be selected to participate on a 14-day expedition for LGBTQ+ Pinnacle Scholars (ages 14-17). These scholarships are offered to youth from under-resourced communities in California who are personally motivated to attend an Outward Bound backpacking course, and for whom a scholarship would remove financial barriers.
This course is staffed with instructors who have lived experiences with and demonstrated support for the LGBTQ+ community. Staff strive to create a safe space for teens who have experienced being marginalized due to their identity, and/or are exploring their sexual and/or gender identity to build community and cultivate self-efficacy.
The Outward Bound Pinnacle Scholarship program is guided by a single principle: every person should be given the opportunity to experience adventure and challenge, develop character and compassion, and learn social and environmental responsibility, regardless of ability to pay. It is Outward Bound California's vision to open access to safe, transformational outdoor experiences and green spaces to students from economically vulnerable communities and communities of color or other non-dominant identities.
Hundreds of studies demonstrate the benefits of challenging youth in outdoor settings to improve physical and mental health, improve school test scores, reduce stress, increase self-confidence and awareness, improve conflict resolution skills and foster community leaders and environmental stewards.
A recent call-to-action from Grant Makers in Health highlights a number of studies that show that the link between outdoor access, “and positive health outcomes was stronger for people with low socioeconomic status and living in communities most negatively impacted by systemic racism, trauma, opportunity gaps, and other challenges.”
These benefits are all the more valuable and life-changing for young people who may experience barriers to get outdoors.
The Pinnacle Scholarship Program is underwritten by a $250,000 gift spread over five years from a grateful alumnus and his family, who want to make the Outward Bound experience accessible to youth from underserved communities that have been historically excluded from outdoor experiences, have suffered disproportionately through the COVID-19 pandemic, and face systemic injustice and racism. Current funding supports approximately 10 full-paid Pinnacle Scholars per year. Outward Bound California is seeking community support to grow that number significantly within 3 years.
Past and Current Pinnacle Partners
Arvin High School
Heart of Los Angeles
Eastside College Prep
Leadership Public School Richmond
Moorpark High School
US Forest Service-Generation Green
Nevada Union High School
YMCA- PG&E Teen Center
Golden Gate Nat'l Parks Conservancy
New Village Girls Academy
Youth Outside (OEI)
Thank you to our sponsors!
Thank you to Hoka One One and Granite Gear for outfitting the 2021 Pinnacle Scholars with boots and a backpack, which are theirs to keep following their Outward Bound course to equip them for a lifetime of discovery and growth in the outdoors.
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