What is the Outdoor Skills and Leadership Certificate?
The certificate in Outdoor Skills and Leadership is an intensive nine-month humanities program that offers students the opportunity to better understand their relation to the natural world and to develop skills and characteristics that are essential to success as an individual, a group member, and a leader in outdoor and adventure settings. The program incorporates outdoor risk management, leadership skills, specific outdoor activity skills, and academic work. The combination of outdoor and academic courses is designed to develop not only knowledge but also personal traits such as self-reliance and good judgment. Students working to become outdoor professionals, wanting to achieve more general goals related to personal development and leadership, or wanting to better understand the natural world will benefit from the program.
What Does Participating in the Program Involve?
Completing the program will require students to participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as climbing rock and ice, hiking, camping, kayaking, and skiing. As well, students will complete courses in areas such as swift-water rescue and wilderness medicine that will provide them with skills needed to act responsibly in backcountry settings. Academic courses, such as Perspectives on Wilderness and Small Group Communication and Team Building, will give students opportunities to reflect on many aspects of our interaction with nature and each other. There will also be a specialized course in outdoor leadership that is designed to ready students to lead groups in outdoor settings and to educate others in areas relating to outdoor recreation. The fact that such courses are taken at the same time as Outdoor Studies classes will give students the opportunity to consider and apply theoretical understanding in practical conditions. Because the program involves a number of outdoor skills courses that require full-day and multi-day outings, students must be prepared to spend many weekends in the field while they are enrolled in the program.