Learn Off the Beaten Path

Outdoor Education Leadership Major

If thoughts of cooking dinner by campfire or exploring scenic waterways make you want to step out into the great outdoors, think about how an outdoor education leadership degree could help prepare you for future success. In this program, you’ll acquire wilderness survival and stewardship abilities. Plus, you’ll go off the beaten path to develop teamwork, communication, risk management and responsible decision-making skills that translate well to the adventure of a lifetime: your career.

Why Choose Outdoor Education Leadership at SU?

At SU, the journey to your degree is an adventure. Students of the outdoor education major find themselves:

  • Cooking dinner by fire while watching the sun set over an Appalachian skyline
  • Learning new techniques for scrambling up a rock wall
  • Navigating with a compass and a topographical map
  • Exploring the Eastern Shore’s scenic waterways from the seat of a kayak
  • Developing real-world survival skills, including first-aid and emergency shelter-building

Outdoor education leadership courses take your learning beyond the classroom. They help you gain a broad variety of practical skills in an atmosphere that combines discovery and adventure. One important and unique feature of our program is its focus on camp leadership. It includes strategies for designing programs, understanding and responding appropriately to the various developmental stages of children, and training and hiring camp staff. Core components of the program include stewardship of the environment and the development of adventure-based leadership skills.

In this program, you’ll learn how to:

  • Equip yourself with essential skills for safely planning and leading outdoor excursions. Available courses include Adventure-Based Leadership, Camp Management and Leadership, Camping and Backpacking, Canoeing and Kayaking, Navigation, Outdoor Leadership Techniques, SCUBA Diving and Wilderness First Aid.
  • Engage the natural world in classes that facilitate a better understanding of and appreciation for the environment. Leave-no-trace ethics are taught and carefully observed as you learn simple and memorable techniques for stewardship.
  • Expand your aptitudes for self-reflection, interpersonal communication, peer leadership and crisis decision-making. These courses are specifically designed to push your comfort zones. Expect rigorous challenges, ranging from full-length research papers on leadership disasters to winter hiking and backpacking on the Appalachian Trail.

Careers

Outdoor education classes offer practical preparation for a growing job market. Graduates of the program acquire skills that can be used in camp leadership, national park services and a variety of wilderness adventure and interpretive programs. With a degree from SU, you could become one of the following:

  • Outdoor Education Programs for Schools
  • Program Director for Camp and Conference Centers
  • Outdoor Business Owner
  • Corporate Leadership Developer
  • Camp Director
  • Adventure Programmer
  • Outdoor Program Leader
  • Wilderness Instructor
  • Wilderness Therapist
  • Park Ranger
Have you thought about a career in the nonprofit sector? If so, you should know that you can become a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) while completing your ODEL major at SU. Since many internship sites and employment opportunities are nonprofits, combining ODEL with this nonprofit certification can be the right professional move for your future! For more information, visit the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance at SU.

Faculty with Real-World Experience

Our faculty works cooperatively with students both in and outside the classroom to ensure their educational growth and lifelong success.

Graduates of our program experience hands-on learning and develop effective leadership, risk management, communication and outdoor skills, which apply to many careers.
Christy Harper Outdoor Education Leadership Coordinator

Learn More About Our Program