The Hamilton Outing Club (HOC) recently welcomed a fresh batch of newly certified leaders to the community. Twenty-two students began their training on the morning of Sept.14 in the Glen House. This past weekend, many of these new leaders completed the second half of their certification with the completion of a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) class. After doing so, they are ready to lead fellow students into the Adirondacks. 

Outing Club Officers Charlotte Guterman ’22 and Abbie Wolff ’22 led the intrepid young leaders in their first training weekend. With the help of several special guests, they shared what they had learned from their own experiences. Approximately half of the weekend was spent at the Glen House and the remaining time was spent in Rogers Glen.

Guterman and Wolff facilitated exercises involving soft skills such as group management as well as hard skills over the weekend. They equipped the students with all the tools they would need for leading a successful trip. There were workshops on trip planning skills like writing a clear itinerary, reading and navigating by a map. Navigation skills included measuring the mileage of certain hikes, reading a compass, and identifying landmarks or topographic features along the trail.

Guests Mike Moubarak ’21 and Keith Ruggles ’20 brought their expert knowledge on knot tying, setting up tarps, and bear-proofing as well as what to do if you encounter one. Sarah Stigberg ’20 and James Southwick ’20 visited the Glen House as well and shared knowledge on the subjects of Leave No Trace (LNT), packing a pack, and trail etiquette.

Following their classroom session, the group of fledgling leaders got ready to head into Rogers Glen to put all of their new knowledge into practice. They prepared their packs with all the gear and food they would need for the night, getting familiar with the Glen House gear room in the process. Then they set off through the Glen and into the woods. Although they could hear the sounds of campus, the leaders were undeterred in their goal to bond with each other and practice their skills.

After an early wake-up, they packed up and headed across campus to unpack gear and debrief about their weekend experience — now on the cusp of being fully certified HOC leaders. The group wrapped up their certification on Sept. 21-22 with the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course. WFA is a weekend-long commitment, requiring undivided attention from morning until night on both Saturday and Sunday.

The course covers a wide variety of Wilderness Medicine practices and aims to prepare leaders as much as possible for emergencies that they may face. It involves an effective combination of book learning and practical application of skills.

With their new certifications in hand, these leaders are eager to get out into the wilderness and explore.

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