The Gap Experience is an adventurous way to start your college career.

Your Outdoor Leadership Adventure

What do sea-kayaking, rock-climbing and St. Norbert College have in common? A Gap Experience you won’t forget!

Begin your 13-week expedition on the Canadian north shore of Lake Superior in an Outward Bound adventure that includes wilderness hiking, rock climbing, backpacking, paddling and much more. And throughout this adventure, you’ll learn leadership skills to carry with you the rest of your life.

Outward Bound will provide the gear and tools you’ll need; all you need to bring is a spirit of adventure and a readiness to learn. If you’re accepted to this program, we’ll provide a list of the clothing and personal items you’ll want to pack, too.

Leadership: Learn It, Live It

Throughout the course, you’ll have evening discussions to explore the personal and group challenges encountered. Topics will include leadership, independent decision-making, goal-setting, responsibility and teamwork. At other times during the course, you’ll have opportunities to learn geology, discuss environmental ethics, and delve into the natural history of the Northwoods and Lake Superior.

This expedition is an exciting way to learn about yourself; gain technical outdoor skills; gain practical, contemporary leadership skills; and become a valued team member in a challenging and inspiring setting.


  • Gain skills to command single and tandem ocean kayaks in wind, waves and surf — even if this is your first time in a kayak.
  • Learn rescue techniques for yourself and your teammates.
  • Master the art of packing your food and gear in your kayak hatches.
  • Explore the rugged coastline and learn to read nautical charts.


  • Learn the art of efficient backpack travel.
  • Pitch your shelter in a new spot every night.
  • Negotiate steep ridgelines, cascading rivers and forest trails.
  • Build your own fire and cook hearty meals.

Rock Climbing

  • Learn to rock-climb and rappel (you’ll always be harnessed!).
  • Discover the challenge of stepping over the edge to rappel.
  • Control your own descent as you make your way down the mountain.
  • Explore a variety of surfaces — cracks, faces and chimneys.

Ropes Course

  • Make your way through an obstacle course set 30 feet in the air.
  • Challenge and celebrate the fortitude and strength you’ve developed.


  • Spend two or three nights on your own.
  • Rest, reflect and practice your camp skills.
  • Enjoy a break from the group (don’t worry, your instructors will check on you periodically).


  • Learn and practice Leave No Trace ethics throughout the course.
  • Participate in service projects with land managers or other social service agencies.

Personal Challenge Event

  • Experience a triathlon-style challenge that includes distance-paddling, running and/or walking to wrap up your outdoor leadership experience.