Build your personal skills in leadership, group facilitation, knot tying and belaying, paddling strokes, woodworking, and awareness of environmental issues in a supportive group setting. Facilitation and leadership happens mostly in the context of Sterling’s high and low challenge course. Flat-water paddling explores different lakes and rivers every week by canoe. Other paddle craft will also be tested while you create your own canoe paddle from local wood. These two courses are a great combination to experience the field of Outdoor Education, meet requirements of the major, and be outside 4 days a week.
Enrollment Requirements and Options:
Taking both courses is not required. Students who elect to take both courses cannot co-enroll in online coursework, unless they are a returning student. Having basic swimming skills (or a willingness to learn) is required for Flat-water Paddling. Being a TA for one or both courses is possible with previous experience and instructor permission.
This pod includes the following courses:
Foundations of Outdoor Education 3cr
The course will provide a broad introduction to leadership and facilitation skills as they apply within the context of outdoor education, as well as an overview of the history and philosophical/theoretical underpinnings of adventure programming broadly speaking, and challenge-based experiences more specifically. Students will identify and cultivate the skills necessary for working effectively with groups, including assertion and listening skills, group assessment, briefing, facilitation of reflection, tone setting, intervention, working one-on-one, and other leadership and facilitation skills. The vehicle for skill development will be facilitation of high and low challenge course activities for middle and high school age students. Students will also understand how to apply new facilitation and leadership skills in a variety of settings and will gain practice doing so through experiences built into the course as well as through structured reflection. Attention will be given to cultural contexts and applications of challenged-based programming, and to diversity and inclusivity theory and practice in challenge course settings. The course will introduce students to important thinkers and practitioners in the field and will provide exposure to a range of work opportunities in the field of outdoor education. By the end of the course students will be able to identify, use, and safely facilitate the use of a variety of high and low challenge course elements. Students will receive intensive leadership development through feedback and self-evaluation, and will increase their own confidence and competence in confronting physical and interpersonal challenges. Writing competency will be a central focus of this course through use of a portfolio which requires twice-weekly reflective writing to engage students with course materials (course readings, class sessions, and practical leadership experience) as well as two formal written assignments that will utilize a revision process and peer review.
Flat-water Paddling 3cr
In this course participants delve into the region’s paddling and boat building history, while exploring local rivers and lakes; realizing the treasures in our own backyard and the environmental issues affecting them. Students learn to improve their paddling skills; reading the water, turning in control, mastering the J stroke for straight paddling, and rescuing a swamped boat. Students will also build their own laminated wooden canoe paddle and then utilize them on the water.
Beyond just canoeing we discover the wide range of flat water paddling options and differing boat characteristics; racing and recreational, solo and tandem, canoes, kayaks and paddle boards. Sterling is proud to partner with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail and the Upper Valley Land Trust to help further the organizations’ missions to educate the public about northern New England waterways, riparian ecosystems, and watersheds, including their recreational opportunities. Successful students will be able to rent Sterling canoes for their personal use on flat-water.
Sterling will supply all boats and basic paddling equipment and also provides spruce wood for making one laminated paddle. Students are responsible for providing appropriate footwear and clothing.