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CORE Wilderness Instruction and Leadership Development Program

The Wilderness Instruction and Leadership Development (WILD) program at CORE empowers and equips Clemson students to take on leadership roles in both the outdoor recreation field and in their community. The experiential nature of outdoor adventure provides the perfect context for students to learn, implement, and refine transferable skills such as program planning, group management, facilitation, self-awareness, creativity, and problem solving in addition to developing their technical outdoor skills in areas such as backpacking, rafting, rock climbing, skiing, and mountain biking.

Open-Enrollment

The courses offered through the Wilderness Instruction and Leadership Development program are open to all Clemson students. Students who wish to participate in these courses can register for an individual WILD course at any time. Registration for WILD courses operates the same way as for regular CORE trips. This is a great option for students who want to explore outdoor leadership in general, work on a specific technical outdoor skill, or who wish to learn more about working at CORE without having to fully commit to the program.


Continuing Education and Professional Development

One of the key functions of the courses offered through the WILD program is to offer ongoing professional development to our current CORE staff. Most students begin their time at CORE working as Equipment Specialists helping to run our outdoor equipment rental program. For those who wish to move up into roles as Trip Leaders, the WILD program courses offer a way to develop the foundational leadership competencies and outdoor skills necessary for the position. Once a student has become a Trip Leader, they are expected to engage in ongoing professional development through the WILD program to keep their skills current and ensure that all CORE programs are run with safety and excellence.


Course Options

  • Foundations of Outdoor Leadership
    • This is our introductory outdoor leadership course. This two-day trip is designed to provide a foundational understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to become a successful outdoor leader. Topics covered will include:
      • Backcountry Travel and Camping
      • Outdoor Leadership and Service
      • Judgement and Risk Management
      • Group Dynamics and Expedition Behavior
      • Teaching and Facilitation
  • Wilderness First Aid Certification
    • A certification course that serves as a fun, hands-on introduction to wilderness medicine. A WFA certification is widely considered to be the minimum standard of training to be eligible to work in an outdoor recreation environment.
  • Leave No Trace Trainer Certification
    • The backcountry course is a vital component of the national Leave No Trace program and a great resource for the aspiring outdoor professional or anyone interested in learning more about minimum impact skills and ethics.
  • Technical Skill Development
    • This trip focuses on diving deep into one of the more technically demanding outdoor recreation activities such as rock climbing, whitewater paddling, or mountain biking. Participants don’t need to have prior experience in the specific activity of the trip, but should already be comfortable in the basics of backcountry travel and camping.
  • Outdoor Leadership Immersion
    • This extended course many of the elements of our other WILD courses into one, immersive outdoor leadership experience. This trip is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the knowledge and skills needed to become a successful outdoor leader. Topics covered will include:
      • Backcountry Travel and Camping
      • Activity-Specific Technical Skills
      • Outdoor Leadership and Service
      • Judgement and Risk Management
      • Group Dynamics and Expedition Behavior
      • Teaching and Facilitation
      • Wilderness First Aid (certification)
      • Leave No Trace Trainer (certification)
  • Skill Clinics
    • Skill clinics will be offered throughout the semester on a variety of topics. These courses are meant to be a more easily accessible way to learn and refine one’s outdoor skills for those who might not always have a weekend free to participate in a longer WILD course.