Outdoor Leader Development

Who is an Outdoor Leader?

Every student at Wyoming Catholic College must undertake a variety of activities aimed at growth in leadership and virtue. Particular students, however, sometimes wish to go further within the Outdoor Leadership Program, and these students take up the challenge of becoming Outdoor Leaders.

An Outdoor Leader is an individual who understands the importance of active followership but wishes to push themselves farther. They have chosen to devote their time and energy to mastering the skills necessary for guiding their fellow students in the backcountry. Such leaders will have the opportunity to specialize in a number of fields: climbing, caving, skiing, etc.

Outdoor Leader Progression

Level 1—Wilderness First Responder (WFR): The WFR course is an intensive, 10-day medical training course in Wilderness First Aid and CPR. Ideally, students will take this course in August (before their Sophomore year). WFRs are responsible for the medical needs of students on each trip, including serving as Lead WFR on week-long trips. WFRs are required to attend monthly medical scenarios in order to maintain their skills. The WFR certification is valid for three years.

Level 2—Week-long Trip Leader: These students have already taken their WFR (or will be taking their WFR in August before their sophomore year). Students can begin this process as early as the second semester of their freshman year, and receive an outdoor leader manual, which contains the necessary information for taking a weeklong leader course. Students will master 15 skills, including map and compass skills, bear safety, emergency protocols, and more, and will demonstrate command of a certain skill by taking either a written or a practical test. After mastering these skills, the student must go on a week-long leadership training course (held every May and August). Upon successful completion of a leadership course, they will be permitted to co-lead week-long trips with a more experienced leader, and can eventually develop the capacity to be head lead for one of those trips.

Level 3—Freshman Expedition Co-Instructor: Students who wish to continue their outdoor leadership training (with an eye towards pursuing outdoor education after their undergraduate degree) may become Freshmen Expedition Co-Instructors, which will make them eligible to lead the Freshman 21-Day Expedition. Ideally, students become Co-Instructors the summer after their junior year. Interested students must apply for the position and complete an interview. The students who are hired will be required to take a two-week instructor course, which will involve intense mountaineering and backpacking.

Level 4—Freshman Expedition Instructor: This position is only available to students who have already co-led the Freshman Expedition.