Leadership Adventure Semester
Summer 2022

This course is also known as Leadership Summit.

Course details and location

  • June 22, 2022 – August 2, 2022*
  • Ages 18–20
  • $7,395*

*2022 dates & tuition will be finalized by October 2021.

Our summer gap semester program will travel throughout the Pacific Northwest. During this expedition-style semester, we’ll spend time in areas like:

  • Gifford-Pinchot National Forest
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Olympic National Park
  • Smith Rock State Park
  • Mt. Adams Recreation Area

Academic credit through Western Carolina University

This Leadership Adventure Semester summer course will offer the ability to earn 14 hours of academic credit through Western Carolina University (WCU). The courses include:

  • Parks and recreation management (PRM) 254: Introduction to outdoor pursuits (four credits)
  • PRM 357: Wilderness first responder (four credits)
  • PRM 200: Introduction to Rock Climbing (2 credits)

Find more information, including how to apply as a non-degree-seeking student to WCU, here.

Wilderness first responder course

Not only is it important for outdoor enthusiasts to have a basic understanding of wilderness medicine, but the wilderness first responder course is also the standard minimum medical certification for outdoor leaders like guides, search and rescue professionals, and educators. (Adventure Treks alumni often go on to become instructor interns after having gained this certification.) 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


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 & mountaineering
Rock climbing

In Smith Rock State Park, students will practice the following concepts on single-pitch routes:

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

In our first few days, we’ll teach how to safely operate a climbing site; self-rescue; and how to manage problems like stuck ropes or lost gear. Then students will rope up to test their new skills on multi-pitch routes.


Students will learn and practice mountain safety, mountaineering techniques, snow camping, and ice axe and crampon use on Mt. Adams (the second-tallest mountain in Washington at 12,280 feet) and Mt. Olympus (a highly glaciated peak that rises to 7,980 feet).

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 $3,000 deposit.

The $1,000 deposit must be made within five days of the initial online application and can be made over the phone with a credit card (plus a 2.9% bank processing fee), debit card (no processing fee), or checking account (we’ll need the account and routing number).

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

Once we receive the student application and $3,000 deposit, students will complete a questionnaire and two essays and health form, and submit two professional and/or academic 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.