Leadership Adventure Semester
Summer 2021

Course location

Our summer gap semester programs will begin in Colorado and make its way across the North American west to finish in the Pacific Northwest. During this expedition-style semester, we’ll spend time in areas like:

  • Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
  • City of Rocks National Reserve
  • Bend, OR
  • Goat Rocks Wilderness
  • Gifford-Pinchot National Forest
  • North Cascades National Park

Course details

This Leadership Adventure Semester summer course will offer college credit through Western Carolina University (WCU). Find more information about how to apply for academic credit through WCU here.


Backpacking and advanced campcraft

Year after year, backpacking is the most highly rated activity at Adventure Treks for many reasons, including shared challenge, lack of electronic distractions, and what we call “shared humanity.” There’s magic in overcoming obstacles, and it’s even more powerful when challenges are shared with friends. Without electronics, people able to focus on what’s in front of them, and what’s important: themselves, their friends, and creating long-lasting memories. Students are able to step into different leadership roles, and backpacking highlights commonalities and interests that form strong, unbreakable friendship bonds. Backpacking offers opportunities for both type I fun (seeing beautiful views, having deep trail conversations, jumping into swimming holes) and type II fun (steep inclines, inclement weather, forgetting something and having to problem-solve)—both of which create rewarding, meaningful experiences.

Students will have several extended backpacking trips, honing such skills as:

  • Expedition management and safety
  • Orienteering, map-reading, and navigation skills
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • Camp set-up and take-down
  • Building temporary shelters
  • Fire-building
  • Backcountry cooking
Rock climbing, mountain biking, and kayaking
Rock climbing

Students will learn concepts such as:

  • Knot-tying
  • Belaying
  • Rappelling
  • Anchor-building

We’ll also teach how to safely operate a climbing site; self-rescue; techniques such as movement and advanced knots; and how to manage problems like stuck ropes or lost gear.

Whitewater paddling

The whitewater paddling community is almost as big as the mountain biking community out west. Students will learn basics like:

  • Common strokes
  • Reading whitewater and picking a line
  • Surfing waves
  • T-rescues
  • Wet exits
  • Rolling and bracing
  • Properly swimming in whitewater
Wilderness first responder course

The 10-day wilderness first responder course is the standard minimum medical certification for outdoor leaders like guides, search and rescue professionals, and educators. It’s also an extremely beneficial course for anyone who takes extended backcountry trips and wants to pursue emergency medical training. Over 72–80 hours of classroom learning and hands-on scenarios, students will cover topics like:

  • Patient assessment systems
  • Risk management
  • Vital signs
  • Anaphylaxis, allergies, and airway management
  • Heat- and cold-related injuries
  • Spinal and traumatic brain injuries
  • Wounds and soft tissue injuries
  • Trauma and shock
  • Burns and blisters
  • Bites, stings, and wildlife safety
  • Splinting and patient packaging
  • Dislocations
  • And much, much more
Swiftwater rescue course

A fantastic course for anyone who loves to recreate in moving water and wants to become an outdoor professional! This course is designed for people with little to no rescue experience, so don’t worry if you haven’t spent much time in the river. After learning backcountry medicine in your nine-day wilderness first responder, students will learn the fundamentals of survival in moving water, plus gain knowledge in hydrology and river classification; swimming and self-rescue; and boat handling and anchor systems.

How to apply

Step 1: Submit an online application.

You’ll complete the initial online application, which requires a parent’s email address to create a username and password; this email and password is how you’ll access the account for all paperwork.

Step 2: Secure your spot with a $1,000 deposit.

The deposit must be made within 3 days of the initial online application and can be made over the phone with a credit card (plus a 2.5% bank processing fee), debit card (no processing fee), or checking account (we’ll need the account and routing number).

The deposit is fully refundable if the applicant is not accepted into our program, or if we do not meet our minimum number of students to operate. 

Step 3: Fill out a detailed application and set up a director interview.

Once we receive the student application and $1,000 deposit, students will complete a questionnaire, two essays, and health form, and submit two references. We will also schedule a director interview.

Step 4: Official acceptance!

As soon as the entire admissions process is completed, we will notify you as soon as possible regarding your official acceptance into the program.

*Terms and conditions for the Leadership Adventure Semester will apply.