The Oregon Outdoor Educator course is a comprehensive expedition program combining the beauty and challenging environments of the Oregon wilderness with intensive educational curriculum and activities, prioritizing skills needed to work in the fields of outdoor and adventure education. You spend 50 days expanding your mastery of wilderness techniques across multiple environments, honing the skills needed to work in the field of outdoor and adventure education. Students are immersed in the history, tradition, and teaching methods of the longstanding worldwide leader in wilderness and experiential education. Designed for all individuals interested in instructing, guiding, or other outdoor teaching positions, this course offers 50 days of in-depth learning in mountaineering, snow camping, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and first aid. You will also explore group dynamics, experiential education theory and methods and wilderness activity management.
In a supportive community of like-minded adventurers, you are provided with the opportunity to act as both student and educator, drawing reference from your experience to affirm the wilderness educational concepts explored. Previous students work in all facets of the industry — as guides, instructors, and classroom teachers — and express that this course delivers invaluable experience, relevant skills and knowledge needed to help students become better educators.
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This course starts within the next week. Please call us at 866-467-7651 to assess the possibility of applying for this course!
Most College Savings Plans, including the 529 College Savings Plan, may be used to attend an Outward Bound expedition, thanks to a partnership with Western Colorado University. Anyone can register – you do not have to be a current Western Colorado University student. Registration is easy! Click here to learn more.
Are you motivated by the never-ending discovery in the adventure of the outdoors? Are you passionate about sharing knowledge and helping future generations become comfortable and confident appreciators of the natural world and skilled wilderness wanderers? Working as an outdoor educator requires deep technical expertise in outdoor skills alongside hands-on training in the science behind experiential learning and how to create lasting impact for students. Outward Bound leads the outdoor education industry in both areas, providing a coveted foundation to jump-start an outdoor-involved career.
The Outdoor Educator course is the most comprehensive Outward Bound course available, allowing you to work in and through the widest variety of wilderness environments and develop high level skills in each. Beyond preparing you for career opportunities in the outdoor industry, you may also earn academic credit in the field of Recreation and Outdoor Education.
Outward Bound is accredited with the American Gap Association and is the longest running program in this elite group dedicated to providing safe, meaningful and high-caliber educational experiences to students.
Students travel on the river in four to six person paddle rafts, learning to “captain” (maneuver) their paddle raft team through Class II to IV rapids. After lessons in basic river travel and safety, students learn to read currents, anticipate obstacles, scout rapids and negotiate technical portions of the river. Students learn river hydrology, swimming in currents, paddle techniques, and expeditionary travel. On the rafting expedition, there may be the chance for short day hikes.
Students receive individual instruction and test their skills against vertical cracks, steep faces and boulders. Students will camp in a front country site at Smith Rock State Park among the multicolored cliffs and spires or in a backcountry location near the Central Cascades. Students learn about basic climbing equipment, rope management, wearing harnesses, tying knots, belaying and rappelling techniques, top rope site assessment and management, facilitating the climbing experience and movement on rock.
Mountaineering courses move through high mountain terrain and focus on preparation for a peak attempt that may require the use of ropes, technical equipment and snow camping. During this section of the course, students start by learning snow travel skills, including off-trail travel, map and compass navigation, and campsite selection. Learn basic mountaineering skills like route finding, snow and glacier travel, ice axe use, and rope team travel. Please note that peak attempts are dependent upon variables such as weather and group dynamic.
Nine days of this course will be spent fulfilling the 72 hours of classroom and hands-on learning required to obtain the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certification. During this portion of the trip, students learn advanced backcountry first aid and evacuation techniques. Each day, time is devoted to lectures and exams as well as practical hands-on sessions and rescue simulations. Evenings are reserved for study and assignments. Full participation is required. Upon successfully completing and passing the course, students receive WFR, Anaphylaxis, and Basic Life Support-CPR certification cards from Wilderness Medical Training Center. These are the industry-standard medical certifications required for professionals working in the outdoors.
Outward Bound believes that an appropriate amount of independence is a powerful educational tool. During the travel sections of this course, Instructors purposefully and gradually transfer certain leadership responsibilities to the students, culminating with the “Final Expedition.” Near the end of course—if the group has demonstrated the necessary leadership, team problem solving and wilderness living skills—students may have the opportunity to travel without Instructors immediately present. Many of our students feel this phase of the course is the most rewarding, as the group learns to work as a team, problem solve, and accomplish a goal independently, while utilizing all the skills they have acquired.
Toward the end of the course students will have the opportunity to practice the educational skills used to lead groups in a wilderness environment by facilitating a 3-day outdoor education overnight program for local students. The program may include hiking, rock climbing, rappelling, initiatives, games and a service project. Many students consider this the highlight of the course because it allows for the use of many skills that have been learned in the previous six weeks. Two days of intensive training and practice led by the Outward Bound staff prepares students to fill the instructional role with confidence and competence. Afterwards students will receive direct, constructive feedback from Outward Bound staff about their performance.
Courses typically end with a Personal Challenge Event—an individual final physical push. This might take the form of a run or a triathlon-style challenge.
Service to others and to our environment is a core value of Outward Bound and is integrated into each course. Groups follow Leave No Trace ethics as they engage in acts of service while leading and supporting fellow participants. Students see the impact of their actions firsthand , develop an appreciation of service, and transfer this desire to serve their communities back home.
In order for profound learning to take place, students must spend time reflecting on their experience, and Solo is that opportunity. The Solo experience provides an important break from the rigors of the expedition and gives students the opportunity to reflect on their Outward Bound experience. With sufficient food and equipment, students will set up camp at sites of their own, using the wilderness skills learned during the first portions of the course. The amount of time students spend on Solo is based on course length, weather, student condition, age and Instructor preference. Solo campsites are chosen to offer as much solitude as possible (yet be within emergency whistle-signaling distance of other group members). Most students spend their Solo time journaling, drawing, reflecting, thinking and resting as they process lessons of the course to focus on their goals for the future. Instructors check on each participant at regular intervals, as safety is always a top priority.
Outdoor Educator Course students will receive in-depth training in technical, interpersonal, and educational skills that apply to being an outdoor educator. With a progression of teaching and leadership skills where Instructors and peers provide feedback in an organized setting, students gain a strong foundation to begin or continue working as an outdoor educator. Much like other courses, students are challenged to try new things, step outside their comfort zones, and do things they never before thought they could do. As a team, each group works together to complete difficult tasks necessary for backcountry travel, expedition living, and outdoor leadership.
Smith Park State Park, Oregon
Smith Rock State Park is a world-renowned climbing destination that attracts climbers of every ability level. It is widely considered to be one of the top sport climbing areas in the country. Smith Rock is a uniquely beautiful area that commonly graces postcards and calendars. The Crooked River lazily winds its way through the canyon, cutting a path through the cliffs and spires. To the west, the snow-capped volcanoes of the Cascade Range rise on the horizon, above the flat checkerboard of irrigated plains. One of the most striking features is a prominent spire, Monkey Face. Given the dry and temperate climate, rock climbing is feasible most of the year.
Deschutes River, Oregon
The Deschutes River is part of the national Wild & Scenic Rivers System. The river flows north from the Oregon Cascades to the Columbia River and then on to the Pacific Ocean. The Lower Deschutes is a popular river for both whitewater rafting and fly fishing. The river is spring-fed, which results in an unusually constant water flow and cold water. Excellent geologic evidence is present all around this area. This course will travel the entire 96-mile stretch of the Lower Deschutes. The rapids on the Deschutes are rated to Class IV, mostly Class II-III, and are excellent for learning paddle skills and teamwork. The group camps each night along the banks of the river.
Central Cascades, Oregon
Volcanoes dot the spine of the Cascade Mountains, rising over 10,000 feet above the forests, lakes, and rivers of the surrounding region. These glaciated peaks run north and south and create perfect mountaineering objectives. The Central Cascade range is home to the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson. Four 10,000 foot glaciated volcanoes are present in this course area, with a total of nine major volcanoes. You’ll find a unique blend of dry eastside and moist westside weather conditions, which allow diverse types of vegetation to flourish. The area has a complex geologic history that continues today. Students can find active glaciers methodically carving away the mountain and the dramatic traces of avalanches that altered the landscape. It is these features of the volcanoes that create a challenging playground from which crews learn the more technical aspects of mountaineering and snow camping. Depending upon the peak, your summit attempt may necessitate glacier and roped-team travel. Students can expect snow travel the entire portion of this section of the course.
Odin Falls Base Camp, Redmond, Oregon
This facility is the office and support site for all wilderness courses conducted in Oregon. The 48-acre property is located on the Deschutes River in the high desert, north of Bend. From the base camp, Smith Rock State Park is visible to the east and the Central Cascades rise in the distance to the west. Students may spend time at this location in order to utilize the lodge classroom setting for the Wilderness First Responder (WFR) portion of the course. Students stay in the campground or a rustic bunkhouse on the property.
If you are ready to enroll on a course click the enroll button next to the course you wish to select or you can enroll over the phone by speaking with one of our Admissions Advisors (toll-free) at 866-467-7651.