About Us

Building future Outdoor Leaders

We are committed to developing the next generation of Outdoor Leaders and changing the face of the outdoor industry.

A Brief Overview

Why We Exist

Launched in 2022 as an initiative of Outward Bound Canada, the Training Academy was created to address the representation gap within the outdoor sector while also providing technical skill development and growing social and emotional competencies so that Canada’s next generation of Outdoor Leaders can respond to the evolving needs of Canada’s diverse population.

Our program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program as an investment in the outdoor sector’s economic recovery.

What We Value

A small but mighty team, the Outward Bound Canada Training Academy team values the following:

We’re All Adventurers
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We embrace the unknown and challenges in our work and lives. We dare to learn and try something new.

Diversity Is At The Heart Of What We Do

Diversity is not only the right thing to do, but it’s how we grow. Whether through a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, opinions or views, diversity is how we will build a thriving organization and outdoor sector.

Be Curious And Seek To Understand

We consider and actively explore diverse perspectives. Only from a place of shared understanding can we care for each other and the world around us.

Channel Courage In All We Do

We think big, speak up and are empowered to act. Whether it’s the courage to share a new idea or to have a difficult conversation, we embrace our vulnerability and cultivate courage every day.

Trust Is Built Every Day

We consistently build trust through every interaction; conducting ourselves in an open, professional and honest manner. We accept responsibility and quickly correct mistakes because trust is built through both our successes and our failures.

About Outward Bound Canada

Outward Bound Canada (OBC) is a registered charity that builds resilience and empowers youth through experiential adventures in nature. Since 1969, more than 175,000 participants have experienced our unique high-impact programs for individuals and school & groups, many of which are youth underserved with outdoor education who need our scholarships and bursaries.

Using the outdoors as our dynamic classroom, we help thousands of young people annually to develop their physical, social, and emotional skills and environmental leadership.

Visit www.outwardbound.ca to support our vision of Canada where all youth have access to high quality, impactful outdoor education experiences that help them realize their potential.

Learn More

Our Team

Spanning four regions across Canada, we are dedicated to creating a lasting positive impact by helping to diversify and make the outdoors more accessible.

Josephine Baran

Training Academy Director

(She/Her)

“I immigrated to Canada in my teens and have been passionately engaged within the outdoor space for 30 years, both professionally and personally. It is a place that I have called home and have been welcomed into by many people and groups, and yet there are times when I have looked from the outside in and felt a deep sense of disconnect due to a lack of representation.

I joined the Training Academy because I am deeply passionate about creating pathways to access through inclusive programming, want to democratize knowledge so that we all have the skills to get outside, and I hope to build a place where everyone can have a home in the natural world.”

Brendan Madden

Head of Program, Outward Bound Canada

(he/Him)

“I am proud to have been part of the team that created the Training Academy. I have been leading groups in the outdoors for over 30 years. In that time, I have come to realize that we need new skill sets, new perspectives, and new partnerships. As leaders, we need to build the skills to ensure that people from all walks of life, and from all cultural backgrounds and gender identities, can access the rejuvenating power of the great outdoors. We need to be forward thinking and resilient to adapt to climate change.

We created the Training Academy to inspire and inform a passionate, dedicated, and representative new generation of outdoor leaders. What an adventure!”

Vanessa Zeng

Operations Manager

(She/Her)

“The Training Academy merges my passion to provide programs for those in underserved communities with my love of the outdoors. For many reasons, the outdoors weren’t always accessible to me, so I never imagined how valuable such a space could be.

It’s exciting to be able to work on this type of program in hopes to spark the same love of the outdoors in others; whether it be for leisure or a pathway to an outdoor career, while also creating opportunities for those who have never envisioned themselves there in the first place.”

Fiona Hough

Curriculum Manager

(She/Her)

“At the beginning of my career, I often got the message that I was the ‘exception’—a woman who was both technically-skilled and had a strong passion for the social-emotional leadership skills that are so critical in outdoor leadership. 30 years later, I often still find myself as the only (or one of the very few) women in the ‘room’...

I joined the Training Academy because I know first-hand how important it is to create space in the outdoors for people who are underrepresented to see themselves. There is incredible power in that; it creates a pathway in the imagination that otherwise might have been invisible.”

Urvil James Villaruel

Marketing Specialist

(He/Him)

“Working for the Training Academy allows me the opportunity to use my marketing skills for something meaningful that I believe in. To me, nothing is better than helping to support and be a positive change-agent for diversity and I believe that the impact that we’re all making here, to whatever degree that turns out to be, will at least help to move the needle in the right direction for future generations to come.

When faced with an infinite expanse of opportunities to help change things for the better, I’m reminded of the words of Jack Kornfield—just tend to the part of the garden that you can touch and the rest will follow.”

Rachel Lager

Admissions Coordinator

(She/Her)

Coming soon…

Talin Wright

Admissions Coordinator

(Xe/Xem/Xer)

“I came to OBC as a member of various marginalized groups that the Training Academy seeks to open doors to the outdoor industry for. Being a part of the Training Academy team merges my natural inclination for organizing systems with community-based work and tangible change.

I’ve never really had the opportunity to engage with the outdoors outside of city parks, community gardens and seeing the wildlife that makes those spaces their own. To know that there’s an organization committed to creating space for multiply-marginalized folks in historically white-cis male dominated spaces means the world to me, and I want to be a part of the team that sees this through.”

Help Support Outward Bound Canada’s Efforts

Love what we’re doing and want to help support our efforts? Below are a few easy ways that you can help out!

Donate

Any amount helps! Support Outward Bound Canada by giving any amount that you feel comfortable with.

Donate

Leave us a Google Review

Are you a past participant? Tell others what you thought of the program! It helps us get the word out.

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Refer a Friend

Know someone who would benefit from our program? Tell them to visit our website!

Virtual Information Sessions

Join us for our next virtual informational session to learn all about our programs, certifications and ask any questions that you might have!

Coming Soon!