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Become a Trip Leader

Thank you for your interest in PSU’s Outdoor Program!

Since 1966, the Outdoor Program (ODP) has been helping PSU students and the community access and enjoy the outdoors. The ODP provides a wide variety of services like outdoor trips, an equipment rental center, and Campus Rec’s Climbing Center. A highlight of the ODP is definitely the outdoor trips offered each term, such as rafting, kayaking, backpacking, climbing and more. In addition, the Outdoor Program offers technical skill seminars like Wilderness First Responder, Intro to Whitewater Kayaking, and Rock Climbing.

The Outdoor Program depends on PSU students to lead these outdoor adventure trips and places great value on the experience that students gain from these wilderness activities. Engaging in rock climbing, whitewater paddling, and hiking can build mental strength through problem solving, perseverance and teamwork. This is the type of community that is fostered at the ODP -- a group of dedicated and passionate outdoor enthusiasts who are excited to learn and teach other students.

For students who are passionate about the outdoors and want to build on their leadership experience, the Wilderness Leadership Development (WiLD) program is designed to train and empower PSU students through experiential education in an outdoor setting. Through the WiLD program, students will gain experience in teaching, facilitation, public speaking, communication, conflict resolution and risk management in addition to technical outdoor skills.

This three term development series is also a path to paid trip leading positions within the ODP. Fall Term is mostly application and interviews; individuals selected for the WiLD program will participate in an overnight trip at the end of the term. During Winter Term, you will be an intern on several trips and attend trainings throughout the term. This training period will culminate in a week-long trip over spring break to further refine and practice skills. Spring Term will be an opportunity to continue to lead trips and develop additional skills. Our hope is that by the end of these three terms, you will have gained the experience necessary to move into a paid trip leading position and you will continue to work for the Outdoor Program for the rest of your time at PSU.

If this sounds like something you are interested in, please review the following expectations and application process.

To be considered for the WiLD Program, candidates must:

  • Be a current PSU student with at least three terms remaining. (Because of the time and money invested in this training program, applicants with more than three terms remaining may be given preference.)
  • Be able to attend all of the trainings and meetings for the WiLD program; see following sections for time commitments and dates.
  • Turn in a complete, on-time application packet to, including the application form, resume, and cover letter by Friday, October 16.

WiLD program schedule and mandatory expectations:

Fall Term 2015

  • Attend an Open House to get more information about the program (recommended).
    • Thursday, September 24, 5-6 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 1, 5-6 p.m.
    • Thursday, October 8, 4-5 p.m.
  • Application packet (cover letter, resume, application form) due Friday, October 16.
  • Interview late October. (Times TBD)
  • Attend the WiLD Program trip: Saturday, December 12 – Sunday, December 13.

Winter Term 2016

  • Attend ODP Trip Leader meeting on Sunday, January 3.
  • Complete First Aid, CPR, and driver’s trainings.
  • As a WiLD intern, participate in the leadership of 1-3 trips.
  • Attend 5 WiLD program trainings throughout the term. (Times TBD)
  • Attend the WiLD Training Trip over Spring Break. (approx. March 19-27, 2016)

Spring Term 2016

  • Attend ODP Trip Leader meeting on Sunday, April 3.
  • Meet with Coordinator to review skill development and set goals.
  • Participate in the leadership of 1-3 trips.

Volunteer FAQs

WiLD Application


If you have additional questions, please contact Reed Mathieson at or come by the Outdoor Program Office at 505 SW Harrison St.