Donor Spotlight: Natalie Sherman

DONOR SPOTLIGHT:

NATALIE SHERMAN

PARTNER, GALLAGHER, EVELIUS & JONES, LLP  |  DONOR SINCE 2010

"When you invest in Outward Bound, you’re going to see the return. The money that is spent on programs has a concrete, tangible, quantifiable impact."

The student expeditions at Outward Bound inspire my giving. They connect kids with the outdoors in a way that enables them to achieve incredible personal growth. An expedition is not just an outdoor education program or an environmental stewardship program; it allows kids to use their experiences with nature to build confidence and self-reliance, and to see the value of collaboration and teamwork. I feel like it’s simple—it’s not simple to execute, don’t get me wrong—but it’s a really simple concept.

An expedition also allows students to develop the skill of reflection, something that seems harder to come by with the constant stimuli of social media and smartphones. While on an Outward Bound expedition, kids can ditch the phones; experience what they’re seeing, hearing and touching; and have a quiet place to consider the bigger questions: “What does this experience mean to me? How has it changed me? What can I take from it?”

On course, students also learn how to deal with setbacks. They can’t just bail out or fall apart. They learn that they have the capacity to rebound, to persist, to move forward. The outdoors can be a really scary place for a lot of kids, and these experiences let them build up their own store of resilience. They know they have it. So when they do face something that’s really difficult, or they fail, they know that they can get through it.

Other programs out there might talk to kids about leadership, or give them exercises to flex those muscles, but I don’t think there’s anything like Outward Bound in terms of putting all of that into practice. That’s why I love it and I can’t wait for my daughter to go out on a course next year.

When you invest in Outward Bound, you’re going to see the return. The money that is spent on programs has a concrete, tangible, quantifiable impact. If I can show you a kid who’s been profoundly impacted—if you can affect even one kid that way, why wouldn’t you do that?

Natalie is no stranger to challenge and adventure herself, seen here in trekking high in the Alps. Photo by Ginger Mihalik

Charting Our Course

Read this article and more as it was originally published in our Annual Report of 2017.
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