To promote and enable outdoor education and activity

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What You Will Learn

The Field Leader program is designed to empower students to meet the challenges found in leading others outdoors. Challenges include ensuring physical and emotional safety, managing logistics, solving problems as they arise, and providing meaningful experiences.

Effective leaders are guided by values and beliefs. These attitudes influence their actions, which increase likelihood of success. Consequently, the Field Leader program focuses on instilling such values and beliefs to future Field Leaders. These include embodying mindful leadership, creating participant-centered experiences, including purposeful programming, ensuring systematic planning, promoting team building, enacting effective communication and pursuing learning through reflection.

These concepts are delivered to students through the study of the OCC’s event cycle:

    • Motivation: students to explore their personal motivations for becoming an outdoor leader. This reflective examination introduces the lifelong process of observing how our leadership style influences the outcome of the programs we lead and how we can adapt our style for optimal outcomes.                                         
    • Visioning: the leader establishes specific learning or experiential outcomes for the activity that are integrated with the needs and abilities of the participants and the characteristics of the natural venue where the activity will take place.    
    • Pre-event planning: the systematic planning processes that include constructing an event plan, team building with participants, co-leaders, the organization, and other stakeholders, and hazard identification and mitigation.
    • Last minute checks: conducted in the period immediately before leaving for the natural space venue.
    • Group Management: strategies for maximizing safety and quality of experience while moving through the terrain being certified (Hiking, paddling or equine).
    • Debriefing: The active learning process for participants, leaders, organization and stakeholders that supports a learning environment.

Courses and modules include both classroom and outdoor lessons. Lessons include lectures, inquiry based learning, case study analysis, group discussions and field practice. Students’ own experience is used to deepen learning and strengthen the understanding of principles supporting good leadership. A final exam tests the knowledge elements of the course.

However, it is important to remember that values and beliefs can only be truly assessed by observing a person’s action over time. Consequently, OCC courses can only present and instill such attitudes. Organizations working with Field Leader still have the responsibility to ensure that their actions are coherent with industry best practices.

The OCC is currently developing additional training programs to help groups and organizations provide effective supervision. 

© Outdoor Council of Canada

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