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    NOLS Pacific Northwest Trip Leader

    NOLS Pacific Northwest Trip Leader


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Destinations: United States
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Program Length: One Week
    • Start Month: June, July
    • Category: Outdoor Adventure
    • Selective: Yes
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Other, Tents
    • Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
    • Financial Aid: Grants/Scholarships, Payment Terms
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    Combine your passion for wilderness with your passion for education in this short, intensive opportunity for professional development in the wilderness. If you’re a current practicing trip leader seeking to join a group of like-minded, motivated peers to enhance your leadership skills in the wilderness, this is the course for you. This course will take you through Washington’s Pasayten Wilderness, an ideal place for you to learn and grow as a wilderness educator.

    You'll learn common leadership strategies through dynamic, on-the-trail teaching methods including scenarios, real-time problem solving, and experiential learning. You'll learn the intricacies of trip planning and how to organize expeditions of your own. If you’re seeking to join a group of motivated peers to grow as a leader in the wilderness, this is the course for you.

    • Designed as professional development for practicing backcountry trip leaders to enhance their teaching and leadership skills
    • Develop your on- and off-trail hiking skills while learning what it takes to run a smooth expedition
    • We recommend that students have a basic first aid certification before beginning the course
    • Small group size of around 10 students and two instructors
    • Learn and share information about leading trips with others with similar interests

    Your course begins with the basics—camping, cooking, map reading, stove use, Leave No Trace techniques, and sanitation—skills that are the foundation for leading backpacking trips of your own. You will then progress to more advanced topics, including off-trail travel and stream crossing. Depending on the snow conditions, you may learn how to use ice axes. Throughout the course, your instructors will emphasize techniques for leading groups in this type of terrain. You will learn about interpretive natural history topics, including wildflower identification, weather, and local ecology, in trailside "teachable moments" as opportunities arise. 

    First aid training is necessary for outdoor leaders. We request that participants come to this course having prior certification of at least a basic first aid course. This background knowledge allows us to make the best use of our time in the backcountry, focusing on the topics best learned in the field. 

    This course prepares participants to lead backpacking trips, and participants typically have diverse backgrounds and experience levels. This course is not meant to be a certification or a guide training course, but rather an opportunity for trip leaders with backcountry experience to learn and share information about leading trips.