Our instructors are our greatest asset — they are highly trained experiential educators and outdoor professionals. All instructors are Wilderness First Responders (WFR). This isn’t just outdoor first aid; acquiring the WFR certification takes 80 hours. This certification is recognized by medical professionals worldwide. Additionally, we require all of our staff to pass state and federal background checks.

We hire experienced staff from a highly competitive pool and then build on their knowledge base. All courses are staffed with a Lead Instructor and an Assistant Instructor. Becoming a Lead Instructor requires many seasons of course leading and demonstrating consistent decision making skills, exceptional judgement, and extensive annual training.

Your students don’t just get two highly skilled instructors, they get a whole team of support. Our entire staff is dedicated to ensuring your course is an exceptional experience. Our process starts with a one-on-one consultation to create a specialized experience for your students. Our Program Coordinator handles all the details and coordinates with the Course Director who acts as the link between home and the field. Our logistics staff will ensure that your students have all the food, gear, and supplies they will need from the start to the finish of their expedition.

Outward Bound instructors receive extensive training in:

  • Wilderness First Responder

  • Group facilitation

  • Diversity & inclusion

  • Communication skills

  • Expedition leadership

  • Wilderness water safety

  • Conflict resolution

  • Technical wilderness skills

  • Safety management


Our instructors made this experience more than I ever expected. I couldn’t ask for better leaders. Not only were they effective, but two of the most kind, patient and respectful people I have ever met.
— Katie, 10th Grade

Program Leadership

director of operations

director of operations

POPPY POTTER

Poppy is an educator at heart. She is passionate about helping people discover the confidence needed to achieve their dreams. As an experiential educator of 25 years, she’s worked for many youth serving organizations and held a teaching position in St. Paul for 10 years. Poppy holds a BS in Outdoor Recreation from UW La Crosse, a Master’s of Science in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University - Mankato and a Special Education Teaching License from Bethel University. Earlier in her career she served VOBS as an instructor and course director, and now serves as the Director of Operations in our Twin Cities Center. She works hard to establish program partnerships with schools and organizations to create a collaborative strategy, resulting in real change.

Program and Admissions Coordinator

Program and Admissions Coordinator

LAURA GREENLEE

Laura Greenlee grew up in Saint Cloud, MN. She came to Outward Bound in the summer of 2008 as a student on a 50-day Educators course in Mazama, WA. She attended the University of Minnesota-Duluth to study Psychology and Outdoor Recreation. While at UMD Laura played club rugby and was named a First Team All American.

Laura worked consecutive summers as an Intercept instructor in Ely, MN for VOBS. After a brief hiatus, Laura is back as the Program Coordinator for the Twin Cities Center. Her job allows her to help create, oversee, and instruct various programs in the metro area. Her favorite part of an Outward Bound course is the tangible feeling of success after an expedition—the knowledge that the only reason you finished your adventure was because you paddled, climbed, and pushed your way to the finish. She currently resides in Shoreview, MN with her wife and two cats.

associate program director

associate program director

JAMES HANCOCK

A Minnesota native, James grew up loving the outdoors, exploring any woods he could find; always with a trusty stick in his hand and a cape on his back.  He has been working in outdoor education for 14 years, first as wilderness guide for Colorado College and the YMCA.  Though he earned a BA in biology from Colorado College, his extracurricular pursuits are what landed him his first job after graduation as the Program Director for the college’s outdoor program. In 2006 James started working with Outward Bound, working in Montana and Colorado before returning to his Minnesota roots as the Associate Program Director at our Twin Cities Center. James believes deeply in the transformative power of wilderness expeditions, and has logged many weeks paddling whitewater and snowboarding in the backcountry. Back in civilization, James loves listening to music, photography, writing, filmmaking, exploring restaurants, and playing soccer.