North Carolina Outward Bound's Outdoor Leader Course combines technical outdoor skill development with hands-on learning and teaching experience with the goal of preparing you for an entry-level position as an outdoor educator.
With more than 40 years experience leading high-quality wilderness and experiential education programs, North Carolina Outward Bound has trained many outdoor educators and offers a premier learning experience.
Like all Outward Bound courses, the Outdoor Leader Course is structured to give you opportunities to grow as an individual, as a member of a team and as a leader.
Our aim is to create a safe and supportive environment that utilizes challenge, adventure and problem solving to help you learn. Throughout your course, you'll receive valuable feedback from your instructors and peers to further your development as an outdoor educator.
As a participant in the Outdoor Leader Course, you are expected to:
- Participate in all scheduled and independent activities including any formal, lecture-style presentations,
- Commit to being a team player,
- Respect, support and share with fellow students and instructors.
The Outdoor Leader Course is designed for those with a strong interest in outdoor education. It is not interchangeable with our semester courses.
You can be an outdoor novice and still enroll in the Outdoor Leader Course. We simply ask that participants be committed to learning as much about themselves as an outdoor leader as they are about themselves as an individual.
Phase I: Immersion (8-10 days)
You will begin your course with an Outward Bound wilderness-based immersion expedition. The first phase is structured like a typical 8 to 10 day Outward Bound backpacking course.
This experience will include on and off trail navigation, Leave No Trace minimum-impact camping techniques, cooking and nutrition, introductory lessons on leadership, decision-making and judgment and much more.
This expedition will provide an example of what we do best and give you an opportunity to challenge yourself as an individual, as a member of the team and as a leader.
This phase of the program will include the following activities (length and depth will vary depending on your crews, weather and instructor planning):
- Backpacking skills (the majority of this phase will be spent backpacking)
- Safety precautions for backcountry foot travel
- How to find campsites
- How to navigate terrain
- Map and compass reading
- Rock climbing/ropes course (1 day)
- An ethic of service (in depth service projects can range from campsite maintenance to working in surrounding communities by assisting families in need)
Phase II: Skills Development (15-18 days)
This phase focuses on the essential skills of judgment and risk management and will include the following:
- Rock site management
- Ropes course management
- River site management - Tandem open boat
- Small group expeditions
Phase III: Wilderness First Responder (9 days)
Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification is recognized as the standard level of expertise in backcountry first aid. This nationally recognized program trains participants to respond to emergencies in remote settings.
The 80-hour curriculum includes standards for extended care situations. Half of your time will be spent completing practical skills, case studies and scenarios designed to challenge your decision-making abilities. In this phase of the course, you will develop the following skills:
- Patient assessment
- Knowledge of body systems
- Equipment improvisation
- Environmental medicine
- Wilderness protocols
- Backcountry medicine
- Wilderness rescue
Phase IV: Final Expedition/Assessment (9-10 days)
You will test your newly developed skills as you and your crewmates participate in your final wilderness expedition. Depending on the crew's skill level and judgment, this expedition may/may not be accompanied by instructors.
At the end of this phase, your instructors provide you with a final evaluation. This is not process of "grading" your performance in relation to other participations on the course. Rather, it is a recommendation for future development, training and employment.
To apply for this course click the apply button next to the course dates that work for you. The non-refundable application fee of $125 is due at the time of application. For full fee schedule and process, click here. Course tuitions listed do not include our application fee or transportation fee.