ODST Advanced Topics Class Syllabus 2021 | St. Lawrence University Outdoor Program

ODST Advanced Topics Class Syllabus 2021

Outdoor Leadership: Summer Session1 May 3-June 4

Listing: 1. ODST 3003, Advanced Topics of Outdoor Leadership & Education (Guide Training course) . One unit

2.  ODST SPTP3010: Wilderness Medicine. One unit

Units: Two SLU units (7.2 credit hours). Courses Length: 5 weeks

Prerequisites: None, but application required; students must register for both courses

Phil Royce, Director, Outdoor Program x5376, c 315.323.1259

ODST 251: Advanced Topics of Outdoor Leadership and Education is an intensive course designed to prepare participants to teach outdoor and leadership skills.  With the nearby mountains and rivers of the Adirondacks as their classroom, students focus on furthering backcountry and outdoor skills and teaching. Through readings, discussion, and field experience, students will explore the issues and topics related to leadership, group dynamics, decision-making and heuristics, risk management, backcountry travel and etiquette, winter recreation, teaching principles and techniques, and considerations and concerns related to specific outdoor pursuits such as climbing, kayaking or skiing.

The course is the foundation for training Outdoor Program student staff, known as Hadwen Guides. Hadwen Guides are paid student staff who work for the OP in a wide array of jobs, including backcountry trip leaders, teaching assistants, facilities staff, and skills instructors for the rock, ice, paddling, and ski programs. 

Individuals participating in ODST: Advanced Topics should be motivated, enthusiastic, have a desire to lead, and possess fundamental backcountry skills.  Previous experience in outdoor education and/or leadership is desirable, but not required to participate in the ODST: Advanced Topics.                                                                             

ODST 3010: Wilderness Medicine Outdoor: Students will learn the theory and practice of wilderness medicine. Co-taught by outdoor professionals with years of experience as outdoor leaders, EMT’s and an ER nurse, this course will be hands-on and students who successfully complete the course will receive professional certification as Wilderness First Responders.


Course Expectations

The course instructors expect students to show a high level of initiative during the Guide Training Program. Students are expected to attend all mandatory class sessions, arrive promptly and prepared to engage in the course material. Students are expected to reflect upon their personal development with the General Backcountry skills and Leadership skills taught during the course. Lastly, students are expected to demonstrate their ability with these skills throughout the course and on the Final Field Practicum. While the course instructors expect all students to develop a certain level of competency with all of the skills taught in Guide Training, students’ grades are not determined by their level of competency. We do expect that all students will leave this course with the skillset to lead general wilderness trips.

Students are not expected to master a specialized skillset by the end of guide training, but if desired, to pursue them throughout their career as a guide. For some coming into the program with the skills already, they may be able to guide specialized trips after this semester. For others, they will require continuous training through the OP.

OP Guide Job Description:

  • Lead a pre-orientation trip in August before school starts
  • Lead or co-lead at least one trip or workshops per semester
  • Attend one guide meeting per month
  • Contribute meaningfully to the SLUOP community
  • Represent the SLUOP at a high standard while running programs and generally on campus and off

Class times will vary throughout the semester, but due to the extensive field time required, students should be prepared to have the entire day free when class is scheduled . The instructor will do their best to follow the syllabus and curriculum schedule, but weather will dictate some field time and class schedule. 

Class               Date                    Topic

Class 1            May 4                  Course expectations, Introductions, personal course goals, code of conduct.
                                                     Backcountry self-care & clothing, equipment and basic backcountry skills.
                                                     Reading: NOLS Wilderness Guide Chapter 4

Class 2            May 6                  Risk & risk management, Assumption of Risk & waiver of liability, Group management, community contract.
                                                     Outdoor professionalism/qualities of an outdoor guide.
                                                     Reading: NOLS Wilderness guide Chapter 6

Class 3            May 7                  Group Management, Risk Management in the field, create/revise community contract/code of conduct.
                                                     Reading: NOLS Wilderness guide Chapter 5

Class 4-10      May 10-16            Wilderness Medicine: Wilderness First Responder. Class will be 8:30-5:00 pm each day.

Class 11          May 20                 Land Navigation with map & compass & what to do when you’re lost-Classroom M&C
                                                     Reading: NOLS Wilderness guide Chapter 8

Class 13          May 21                 Route Planning, Ration Planning, Backcountry Nutrition & Bear proofing; Prep for ADK Traverse

Class 14          May 22                 Adirondack Traverse Trip: Backcountry navigational course.

Class 16          May 25                 River Skill Development: Flat water to moving water

Class 17          May 26                 River Skill Development: moving water, Expedition Prep & Emergency Procedures

Class 10          May 29-June 4    Final Field Practicum

* Schedule is subject to change.