Nina Murray

Staff Writer

“Why am I even doing this?” I thought to myself as I turned off my 7:30 a.m. alarm last Saturday morning. Thirty bleary-eyed, hung-over students and I piled into vans and were driven up to the CC Cabin to participate in the last Level I Leader Training trip of the academic year.

For all of Saturday and half of Sunday, we pin-balled between activities, learning a variety of useful skills, ranging from icebreakers and name games to Outdoor Ed policies and conflict resolution. We were able to meet new people and talk to seasoned leaders about what it is like to lead for the ORC.

This Level I Training is the first step one can take to lead trips. Once the course is completed, a Level I leader may co-lead day trips or co-lead overnight trips with a Level II or III leader.

The Level III leaders who taught the course were senior Colter Fatt, sophomore Kenyon Fatt, junior Emma Longcope, junior Haley Leslie-Bole, and Director of Outdoor Education Ryan Hammes.

First-year Colin Griffith, who participated in the training this past weekend, said, “I’ve been on quite a few ORC trips, and after doing Level I training, I now notice how my leaders used the training they received on the trip… I’m really glad I did my Level I because I can now lead trips for the ORC and not just be a participant.”

Outdoor Ed and the ORC have completely revamped the leader-training system over the past few years, creating three different levels of training and activity specific leader tracks, such as climbing, rafting, kayaking, and skiing, broadening the pool of Level I backcountry leaders for the ORC.

Outdoor Education Specialist Neal Smeltzer said, “I believe the biggest impact that the [Ahlberg Leadership Institute] has had, with all its tracks and levels, is to make the leader-training program much more inclusive and accessible to everyone. Now, students can come in with any previous experience, choose their commitment level, and be able to take relevant courses and gain experience leading trips.”

In the 2013-2014 academic year, a record of 107 people have completed the Level I backcountry training over five courses. Around 30 of those people have submitted their applications to be certified as a Level I Leader.

This makes for lots of awesome trips, which are a crucial aspect of the CC experience for many students. Interested in leading one? Keep an eye out on SUMMIT in case another Level I training is added this spring.

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