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outdoor leadership program

with over a hundred programs annually serving more than 2000 participants per year, the success of outdoor adventures is built on a crew of incredible student leaders. proficient in a wide range of outdoor and facilitation skills, these committed instructors serve the mount and guide the outdoor leadership program with passion and confidence.

chris duffy, director of outdoor adventures
location: lower mcgowan student center
Email outdoor adventures >

students on campus ropes course

learn more about what it takes to be an outdoor adventures leader and where the experience can take you.

frequently asked questions

do i need to have previous experience in the outdoor field?

no. our in-depth training process will teach you all the skills you need as an outdoor instructor to lead safe and powerful adventure experiences for the university. many of our best instructors learned everything they know about outdoor leadership through participation in our leadership development program. a strong sense of commitment, a desire to learn and grow, and a drive to serve others is essential.

what is training like?

training in the outdoor adventures leadership program is a year-long process that we refer to simply as the “training year.” in the first semester, you will learn the technical, medical and judgment skills that will form the foundation of your outdoor leadership. during the second semester, trainees will continue to develop foundation skills while beginning to shadow outdoor adventures leadership instructors as assistants on actual outdoor adventures trips. the process is demanding and involves a lot of time, but we can confidently say that it will be one of the most powerful and rewarding experiences of your life so far!

what kind of commitment is this?

a big one. your training year alone will have you in the field for over 40 days. once you are a full instructor, you will be leading four to five trips per semester, each of which require extensive preparation. outdoor adventures leaders also work on our challenge course delivering team building for the university and serve the program via an administrative role that requires two to three hours of work per week.

so what do i get out of being an outdoor adventures leader?

although all outdoor adventures leaders will readily agree that they give a lot to the program, every single one would also agree that they get even more back. you will be surrounded by a unique and diverse group of peers who are as motivated and engaged as college students can be, who expect great things from you and who support you in your efforts to succeed. you will learn about who you are as a person and as a leader. you will travel to the most beautiful places imaginable. you will find a home and an identity on campus. you will get solid outdoor skills that last a lifetime. you’ll gain confidence. and you will discover the joy and fulfillment that comes from creating powerful outdoor experiences for others.

does this cost anything?

no. the leadership development program is absolutely free. in fact, you’ll be receiving over $4,000 of professional grade outdoor training in your first year alone. outdoor adventures provides all outdoor activity equipment (e.g., backpacks, stoves, climbing gear), but all trainees are responsible for providing their own appropriate clothing and footwear.

does everybody get hired?

unfortunately, no. we typically hire eight new leaders per year. applicants are chosen by staff consensus based on the strength of their applications, face-to-face interviews. other considerations, such as previous conduct on outdoor adventures trips as participants, may be considered.

what kind of jobs can being an outdoor adventures leader help me get?

any job you want! well…maybe that’s a little too big a promise. outdoor adventures leaders major in a wide range of subjects and go on to a wide range of jobs. if you choose to work in the outdoor industry after graduation, you will be extremely competitive given your experience in the program. but regardless of the field you choose to go into, the skills you develop in judgment, self-awareness, group management, risk analysis, self-reliance and a host of other areas will readily transfer into any job. trust us…you’ll have some great material for a job interview!