2019 Kurt Hahn Award Recipients:
Geoff and Ginger Worden
We are thrilled to share Outward Bound USA’s announcement that Geoff and Ginger Worden have been named this year’s Kurt Hahn Award recipients.
Please join us in congratulating Geoff and Ginger on this richly deserved recognition and thanking them for their deep commitment to Outward Bound’s educational mission and values.
From Outward Bound USA:
Named in honor of Outward Bound’s founder, the Kurt Hahn Award is Outward Bound USA’s highest honor. It is presented annually to those who exemplify outstanding service to our mission. It has been awarded to individuals who have made a significant contribution through their life’s work on behalf of others, while demonstrating the values and ideals of Kurt Hahn.
Ginger and Geoff personify all that Kurt Hahn stood for and all that Outward Bound seeks to teach and encourage in others. They have served on the Boards of four Outward Bound entities in the United States over four decades, serving each with uncommon leadership, wisdom and compassion:
- North Carolina Outward Bound School (NCOBS) (Ginger 1983-1994, Vice-chair 1991-94; Geoff 2007-2011)
- NYC Outward Bound Schools (Geoff 1989-present, Chair from 1996-2000)
- EL Education (Ginger 1992-present, Chair from 2008-2017)
- Outward Bound USA (Geoff 2001-2006, Chair of National Charter Committee; Ginger 2002-2005)
Ginger and Geoff have served as steadfast supporters and stewards of Outward Bound for more than forty years—advancing the educational vision and values of Kurt Hahn in public schools, in New York City, and in urban and rural communities across the country. Thanks in no small part to their decades-long leadership and commitment, our organizations today are positioned to influence K-12 education—to get Kurt Hahn’s ideals “into the drinking water” of American education.
While both Ginger and Geoff have had productive professional lives, it is their work in the non-profit sector that they find the most fulfilling. They founded “Bridges,” a community outreach program designed to bring homeless and housed people together in community. Each week housed volunteers bring food, blankets, clothing, personal care items, and their authentic presence to more than four hundred homeless people living on the streets of lower Manhattan, Irvington, N.J. and Newark.
Ginger’s leadership on the NCOBS Board and as a founding director of EL Education highlight her strong judgment, commitment to quality and caring nature. Ginger has a keen sense of institutional strategy, which she showed as a visionary board member with a pragmatic sense of how to bring things to fruition. At the forefront of all her work, Ginger has a captivating interest in students and the teachers who teach them. Her involvement with, dedication to, and enthusiasm for the educational vision of Kurt Hahn is paramount and a necessary means to a constructive end.
As an early trustee of NYC Outward Bound Schools, Geoff labored mightily with others to position the organization for success and establish it as a model for delivering urban public-school education and urban-based Outward Bound programs. At both NYC Outward Bound Schools and NCOBS, under Geoff’s focused leadership, long-term strategic planning was initiated which paved the way for future expansion and impact. In his role on the OBUSA Board, Geoff approached challenges between Schools and between OBUSA and regional schools based on his understanding of Outward Bound’s principles, always encouraging a path forward that kept the student at the center of the resolution. As a result of Geoff’s skills and the work of many others, Outward Bound continues to be a coherent, successful and forward-looking educational movement in the United States.
Through their life works, Ginger and Geoff exemplify the dynamic nature and moral courage of Kurt Hahn. They are not satisfied unless their compassionate ideals take shape in actions – not just in words. They carry the wisdom and lived experience of the best leaders who have emerged in Outward Bound’s educational movement worldwide. Many across the Outward Bound system echo the sentiment, that individually, Ginger and Geoff each deserve our highest recognition, however, together the Worden’s are a force of nature. Through their careful diplomacy and creative leadership, locally and nationally for almost four decades, their impact has been extraordinary. And they, along with the support of their family, continue their hard work – To Serve, to Strive and Not to Yield.
Previous recipients of the award include HRH Prince Philip, activist and politician Sargent Shriver, The New York Times Company Chairman Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., EL Education founder Greg Farrell, and Richard Stopol, NYC Outward Bound Schools’ CEO & President.
There is no one who is more deserving of receiving Outward Bound’s highest honor…they personify all that Hahn stood for and all that Outward Bound seeks to teach and encourage in others…Geoff and Ginger have done as much as anyone I know to bring Outward Bound’s teachings and activities to this country’s urban areas and into its public schools.Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr.
If Kurt Hahn met Geoff and Ginger he would consider them kindred spirits who share his passion for education as a vehicle for character and moral development, and admire them for living the kind of exemplary lives he lived – one that is devoted to the pursuit of social justice and that places compassion above all other values.Richard Stopol