Ed Shaw and Mark McGuiness, both on the New York office staff, have something in common. Last summer each participated in Outward Bound, a world-wide system of thirty schools offering wilderness experience courses. Begun in Wales during World War II to develop spiritual tenacity and the will to survive in young British seamen, the first U.S. school opened in Colorado in 1962. The purpose of Outward Bound is to strengthen character by making demands on the body, forcing the individual to use all his or her mental and physical resources to acquire new skills. It's an experiment in group and personal dynamics, in which the parti-cipants learn when they can rely on them-selves and when they should turn to others in the group for support. Outward Bound uses the wilderness as a teaching medium because of its plentiful opportunities for putting students into increasingly difficult situations that require initiative, perseverance and imagination.
Mark had met the vice president of Outward Bound at a reception in New York City, and as they talked he found the concept of the program so exciting that he decided to try it. Because of his fondness for sailing, he enrolled in the Hurricane Island School located ten miles off the rugged coast of Maine. At the New York office dinner-dance in the spring of 1975, he talked with Ed about his plans and Ed, too, decided to give it a try. Ed selected the Northwest School in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon.
Ed spent twenty-three days hiking in the Cascades, where the terrain varies from forests of Douglas fir to bare rocks and glaciers. His coed group of ten learned basic camping skills such as building a fire, pitching a tent, maintaining body temper-ature to prevent hypothermia (a lowering of body temperature, usually through exposure, which can result in death), first aid, map and compass techniques, and search and rescue. After a course in the specifics of climbing and the use of ropes, the group was prepared for many of the rigors that lay ahead.