Outdoor Leadership


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 The Outdoors is filled with unlimited opportunities for the person seeking adventure, challenge, and opportunities for unexpected growth. Now more than ever the Outdoors needs professionals who understand the importance of maintaining natural areas for their power to invoke adventurous, challenging, and educational opportunities. The general area of outdoor leadership includes specific careers in outdoor recreation, outdoor education, adventure education, wilderness therapy, and tourism and leisure enterprises.

 At the forefront of this movement is COCC's Outdoor Leadership Program.  At COCC, we provide students with options for an associate of arts degree, associate of science degree, or an Associate of Science Direct Transfer degree designed specifically for transfer to OSU-Cascades and their Outdoor Recreation Leadership and Tourism bachelor's degree program.  Depending on your long-term goals, we have an option that will work for you.  Not sure which is best?  No worries... we'll connect you with an advisor to help get you on the right track!

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Vision: The COCC Outdoor Leadership program will be a premiere provider of Associate's level preparation in outdoor leadership development and will be grounded in the principles of lifelong learning, environmental stewardship, personal growth and leadership.  The program emphasizes experiential methodologies to combine theory and practice in a strong field-based curriculum.  Students will gain current and accepted skills, knowledge and standards in the professional field, while being taught by highly skilled and knowledgeable faculty who exemplify the highest level of standards, integrity and ethics.  Faculty and students will be supported in their efforts to foster innovative practices in pursuit of excellence in outdoor leadership.

There are no entrance requirements for the outdoor leadership program, however, there are several pre-requisites for many of the OL courses. Please refer to the list below, which outlines the variety of courses. Students entering into the OL program are required to complete a set of first year courses before enrolling in second year courses.

What Students Learn: The First Year!

  • Contrast the variety of outdoor and adventure programs and their respective educational and/or recreational intentions. 
  • Recognize the historical and cultural factors of Outdoor Recreation. 
  • Summarize a personal reason for pursuing a degree in outdoor leadership. 
  • Outline a potential course progression through the Outdoor Leadership program and a plan of professional improvement. 
  • Determine potential career focus and organizations of employment. 
  • Illustrate the use of the outdoors as an educational and developmental resource. 
  • Examine  their personal connection to the outdoors and its impact on their world view. 
  • Identify the need for professional training of outdoor leaders. 
  • Appraise the complexity of traveling in backcountry terrain. 
  • Generate a personal philosophy of venturing into the backcountry and wilderness settings. 
  • Demonstrate effective skills for travelling and living in a backcountry and wilderness environment. 
  • Integrate various skills toward developing a sense of comfort in backcountry and wilderness settings.  
  • Outline and prepare a backcountry and wilderness experience through appropriate measures of risk management for a backcountry and wilderness setting. 
  • Critique various ethical considerations of travelling and living in backcountry and wilderness settings. 
  • Patient assessment in an emergency situation. 
  • Treatment and care for immediate life-threatening injuries or sudden illness, excluding cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 
  • Proper treatment of open wounds and burns, including dressing and bandaging. 
  • Proper treatment of head and facial injuries. 
  • Care for bone, joint and muscle injuries. 
  • Proper assessment and treatment of circulatory, respiratory, neurological, abdominal, and genitourinary emergencies. 
  • Proper assessment and treatment of diabetic emergencies. 
  • Proper assessment and treatment of anaphylactic emergencies. 
  • Evaluation and treatment of altitude illnesses, near drowning, and heat and cold emergencies. 
  • Proper care for bites and stings  
  • Ability to read a USGS topographic map, including valleys and ridges. 
  • Ability to take a field bearing and use it on the map, including triangulation. 
  • Ability to take a map bearing and use it in the field (using the base plate method). 
  • Ability to orient the map utilizing both terrain matching technique as well as by using a compass. 
  • Correctly adjust for declination when converting bearings from map to field or field to map. 
  • Utilize various forms of navigation aids such as handrails, catch lines, aiming off or intentional offset. 
  • Utilize time and/or pace count to determine distance traveled. 
  • Recognize and Distinguish advantages and shortcomings of specific gear and methods for a variety of unique vertical challenges. 
  • Integrate the use of specific equipment and skills in providing safety protection in a vertical environment. 
  • Examine and operate various methods of travelling through a vertical environment. 
  • Analyze, appraise and design effective anchor systems. 
  • Generate and Organize vertical rescues utilizing various skills, techniques, and methods




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