Participants in the HOC leader training course trek off into the Glen.

Last weekend marked the beginning of a special time of year for the Outing Club — the initiation of new leaders into the community. The first of two HOC leader training weekends began Saturday morning in the Glen Haus, the Outing Club’s on-campus headquarters. These training weekends run in conjunction with a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) certification course from SOLO Wilderness Medicine which will take place Oct. 7 and 8. After completing both parts of the certification, the new leaders will be qualified to lead trips for their peers.

Officers Jared Mandelbaum ’18 and Alex Holmwood ’19 ran the show for 12 students. They were joined by special guests for niche demonstrations and small skill workshops several times throughout the day on Saturday.

From stove lighting to water purification and conflict resolution skills to navigation techniques, the group covered a range of material varying in technicality. “The technical stuff often is associated with more value for leaders, but group management and knowing how to work through unexpected and difficult challenges with that dynamic is an equally important part of becoming an effective leader,” said Holmwood.

After gaining confidence in their ability to plan and prepare for a trip, the party packed up their bags with equipment, food, and clothing to spend the night in the depths of the Kirkland Glen, one of three forested preserves on campus. This is where they put the newly learned expertise into practice, setting up a campsite, cooking dinner, and sleeping under the stars. The night was filled with games, practical application of some of the earlier skills, and bonding with like-minded people. The new leaders set up tarps and tents, flexing their new knot-tying prowess.

Sunday morning, the crew went over some final details and packed up before threading their way through the network of trails in the Glen back to the Glen Haus. Following the clean-up and de-issuing of gear, Mandelbaum had high marks for the weekend, saying “It was awesome to see how enthusiastic our new leaders are. They gave me a lot of confidence in the trips HOC will be sending out for the next four years.”

The Outing Club is glad to have these new leaders on board and anxious for the new group. There are already several trips in the works with these trail blazers at the helm. The leaves have not yet finished changing and the conditions are great for adventures, so there’s plenty of time for students to get out there and HOC on.

HOC would like to give special recognition to Garth Robinson ’19 for leading trips two weekends in a row and giving students an opportunity to tackle Cascade Mountain and Porter Mountain.

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