Working at the OPC & Leadership Candidate Training

“Men [and Women] wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.”                     
Sir Ernest Shackleton

Leadership Candidate Training (LCT) is an expeditionary course that combines the best in outdoor education and leadership training from the Wilderness Education Association, Leave No Trace, Wilderness Medicine Training Center, The Arbinger Institute, and the Texas Tech Outdoor Pursuits Center. The educational curriculum is rooted in Albert Bandura’s Social Cognitive Theory and also borrows from Constructivist and Self-Determination Theories. As a result, this course will expand students’ current leadership and teaching capabilities leading into their future careers.

The LCT expedition is a rigorous staff development course that is designed to incorporate all new student staff into the OPC program through standardized training. LCT introduces students to relational leadership, group management, Leave No Trace environmental ethics, effective teaching strategies, and Informative Tutoring Feedback. Candidates are exposed to three basic skill sets (outdoor, educational, human) and a unique leadership philosophy that forms the core of OPC staff development. The integration of these skills begins on the LCT trip and continues throughout a student’s employment at the OPC. The effectiveness of an outdoor leader, and the promotion of staff, are directly related to constant personal development and conscious integration of these skills.

We each share a passion for teaching and traveling in the outdoors. However, all of us bring different perspectives about how to teach basic wilderness skills. As students prepare for their leadership days and lesson plans, we encourage them to take even the simple topics and create a new and exciting lessons, using a combination of essential content and personal creativity. This is a great opportunity to try out new ideas and take risks with teaching.

Finally, this course has its foundation in assessment. Accurate assessment skills are a prerequisite to developing quality judgment. Feedback from experts and peers is crucial to accurate self-assessment, and is often a significant trigger for thorough evaluation of your decisions. On a daily basis we will give and receive informative and constructive feedback. It’s important to remember that unexpected changes will occur and we will have to plan, re-plan and adapt. Students will need to use their creativity, flexibility, educational strengths, and wild senses of humor to make each course the best it can be. We look forward to hiking, scrambling, and discussing how to improve each new student’s abilities as leaders and educators.