The Connecticut Council of Outward Bound is offering merit-based scholarships to Connecticut students. High school students, ages 15-17 -- current sophomores and juniors -- interested in challenge and adventure can apply for a merit-based scholarship to the Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps for summer 2011.

The Youth Leadership Corps brings together a diverse group of students from high schools in lower Fairfield County to experience an opportunity to be challenged, to strengthen their leadership abilities and to develop new leadership skills. The Youth Leadership Corps Program is a wilderness expedition that builds young leaders using service, community and diversity. Course activities include backpacking, canoeing and rock climbing. The Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps program will take place June 25 through July 10, 2011.

At the information session at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 2, at Toquet Hall in Westport, Outward Bound staff will give an overview of the Youth Leadership Corps as well as information on the application process. Application information for the award will be handed out at the information session.

The Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps offers an opportunity for teenagers to take responsibility for their own lives, have team building experiences and receive an educational adventure like no other. Initiated nationally eight years ago, the Youth Leadership Corps was created with the goal of bringing together diverse teams of 15-17 year old students who are representative of their communities. The Connecticut Council's Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps is in its seventh year. The program offers a customized curriculum and is uniquely structured to challenge participants to strengthen their leadership abilities. After the course concludes, students are encouraged to give back to their respective communities individually and as a team. In 2010, the Youth Leadership awardees returned to Connecticut and devoted their efforts to helping the Greenwich Land Trust.

"We are the ones who are in charge of our lives and how exciting we want our lives to be," said Olivia Choi, a recent Youth Leadership alumna. "Experiencing intense highs and lows on our journey, we all cried, but we all laughed as well. We are all leaders who push each other out of individual comfort zones, but we also push ourselves as we lead our own lives. We create the paths we want to take and bushwhack through unknown territory."

The Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps is made possible by donations from individuals, foundations and corporations interested in seeing Connecticut students become leaders and give back to their community.

"This program for students, which offers lifelong benefits and perspective, is only possible with the support of those throughout our community" said Fairfield resident Andy Holmes, who serves on Outward Bound's Connecticut Council.

Outward Bound, founded in 1941 by educator Kurt Hahn, is a nonprofit educational organization that serves people of all ages and backgrounds through challenging learning expeditions that focus on character development, leadership and service.

Outward Bound inspires self-discovery and helps individuals and teams achieve their potential and develop the leadership skills needed to serve others in their community and care for the world around them. Outward Bound serves 70,000 students annually and has a nationwide community of more than 1 million people.

For more information on the Outward Bound Youth Leadership Corps or on any of the Outward Bound programs, visit www.OutwardBound.org.