Outdoor Adventure Leadership (B.S.)

The mission of the outdoor adventure leadership (OAL) program is to develop visionary outdoor educational leaders who are prepared to be agents of change in the world, whether in a wilderness context or a context where these transferable skills are implemented. Through an innovative, intensive, and experiential curriculum, you’ll learn the technical, teaching, and management skills necessary to help others appreciate, respect, and enjoy the natural environment. The program features professional networks with national association including Outward Bound, the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, the Wilderness Education Association, and the Wilderness Medicine Training Center.

The program emphasizes outdoor program administration, problem solving, leadership, wilderness literacy, and recreational land use. Using the wilderness as a catalyst for personal growth, both in yourself and in those you work with, you’ll develop your sense of responsibility, appreciation of independent thought, respect for others, a spirit of collaboration, awareness of our environmental and cultural connections, and a commitment to lifelong service and learning.

A living lab of gorges, forests, and lakes, the greater Ithaca area provides numerous opportunities to learn and test your backpacking, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, orienteering, and outdoor leadership skills.

The Ithaca College Outdoor Adventure Leadership Immersion Semester Program is collaborating with the North West Outward Bound School to provide an immersive semester experience. The collaboration provides a unique student centered experience featuring both Ithaca College courses* (18 credits) and North West Outward Bound School’s experiential wilderness curriculum featuring challenge and adventure to instill personal growth and character development (*RLS 18005 Select Topics in Rescue; RLS 21600 Outdoor Adventure Skills; RLS 22000 The Wilderness Experience; RLS 22300 Wilderness Literacy; 37000 Recreational Land Use Ethics; and RLS 42100 Wilderness Expedition Leadership).

The Immersion experience will involve traveling through mountainous terrain; climbing steep rock faces; exploring canyons; and navigating rivers. This dynamic classroom provides not only an opportunity to explore and learn about our surroundings; the beauty and the risks; their needs and their possibilities; but also the perfect experiential medium to, for example, examine social, philosophical and historical forces that influence recreational land use ethics. The ability to survey literary works which inspired writers, poets, artists and scholars of the wilderness movement among and within the features and sources of their inspiration. The opportunity, space, and perspective to focus on one’s relationship with the natural environment and the effect humans have on wilderness. Finally, students will be able to intimately examine an organizational model for outdoor programming, supervision and risk management practices, and gain hands on experience with trip planning, packing, leading, and evaluation.

If you are interested in the immersion program please follow this link: /hshp/depts/rls/docs/ISP_2017/

Career opportunities for OAL majors exist in outdoor leadership, ecotourism, outdoor education, camp management, natural resource management, environmental interpretation, youth-at-risk programs, and the adventure education and travel industry. As these industries flourish, the demand for skilled outdoor adventure leaders will grow, and as an Ithaca College graduate, you will be at the top of the list.