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Wilderness Trek

Pro Semester

13 Week Professional Guide Course

and Outdoor Ministry Training

Ideal for: Individuals who want the skills and training to be professional guides  |   Ages: 18 and Up   |   Dates: May-August

Not just a fun semester. An experience that could change your life.

This course is designed for persons who want to become outdoor adventure professionals for Christian wilderness camping ministries or other outdoor industries. It is a challenging commitment that will require some hard work. One that will yank you right out of your comfort zone, test the limits of your endurance, and in the end, deliver an exhilarating sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing you made it and from receiving an official professional certification that proves it.

Stand on the shoulders of giants.

Learning from the pros is one of the best ways to climb the mountain of success. And this course will give you a leg up, literally. We pack more wilderness experiences into a semester than you could ever have on your own. More access to the wild places of this country. More opportunities to lead others, to grow both personally and professionally, and to elevate your technical skill sets. More opportunities to learn from those who have mastered the skills and accomplished the goals that you have set for yourself – including professional certification. And we offer it all at a lower cost and in a lot less time than it would take if you did it on your own.

Course Objectives

This program is designed to:
  • Prepare qualified men and women for a career in outdoor Christian ministry
  • Offer relevant hands-on experience in a wide variety of outdoor disciplines
  • Provide instruction and training by qualified professional guides and organizations
  • Help students obtain certifications that are meaningful in the industry
  • Develop students’ instructional skills and experience levels

Mission. Values. Goals.

The Guide Mindset

The guide mindset is essential in leading wilderness activities or training others. It is a specific way of thinking that is characterized by constant evaluation of risk, careful assessment of terrain, continual vigilance of those in your charge, expert balancing of goals versus risks, and the application of critical thinking skills across all activities. Guiding you to a point where you achieve this mindset will be the most valuable benefit you receive this semester.

Risk Management

This is a theme that goes into everyday of our courses. The students are constantly having guide meetings, identifying risk, weighing risk, coming up with ways to mitigate risk, discussing what risk is appropriate and what is inappropriate, and assessing risk in hindsight.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking and applying skills across activities is a main objective of our courses which are designed to get students into a variety of terrain objectives with a variety of climates in mountains,  canyons, rivers, and more to give them the opportunity to apply principles and skills outside of the context they originally learned them. A true sign of skill mastery is the ability to choose the most appropriate skill and efficiently apply it at the right time. There is no substitute for having experience in a number of different types of terrain. Experience in varying terrain is a big contributor to good decision making in the backcountry. Quality decision making is the constant job of the guide.

Christian Ministry Focus

As Christians, the mission field is everywhere. Whether that is the middle of a city, the top of a mountain or the bottom of a canyon. Through this program we seek to raise up qualified and capable Christian men and women to live in vocational ministry in the outdoor industry. You have a passion for the outdoors and a desire to work in God’s creation for a reason. Paul was a tentmaker by trade, but his work was missions. As Christians, saved by God’s grace, we have a responsibility to be missionaries in the places God takes us, and that includes the outdoors.

Sharpening Technical Skills

Participants hone their technical skills or learn new ones across a variety of disciplines. Then systematically practice those skills with a goal of ultimately applying them in real world situations. To ensure a high level of knowledge retention, students’ skills and performance are regularly assessed  by instructors during the courses and in the certification exams.

Education

We give students an overview to the history of our nation’s outdoor industry, from its very beginnings to the current state of affairs, along with information about influential people and  organizations who have impacted the wilderness areas of our nation. Students should have an understanding of the industry as a whole so they can apply their learning,  set goals and pursue objectives in ways that will help to preserve and protect the natural resources that God has given us, and leave a legacy for others to follow.

Learning Instructional Technique

It is one thing to learn technical skills, but it is another to be able to break those skills down and teach them to novices. Throughout our semesters we help students transform into teachers by incorporating multiple opportunities for participants to teach others and receive constructive feedback. We want students to leave this program more than just qualified outdoor recreationalists; we equip them to be instructors, educators and guides.

Combined Course Components

Throughout our semester’s participants will learn outdoor technical skills, risk evaluation and management, and the appropriate application of both. This is an ongoing process that is reflected in all the various learning components offered throughout our semesters.

Overview

The following guiding experiences and course components offer great opportunities to learn, hands-on, about various outdoor disciplines. This makes our program a great way to develop your skills, experience, and knowledge of guiding principles and practices in less time than it would take to do it on your own.

Whitewater Guide Course

This section includes 8 full days of Whitewater guide training time on the river guiding technical class II-III rapids, swift water rescue training, an overnight commercial river trip, experience packing and rowing gear boats, and independently guiding multiple raft trips.

Backpacking Guide Course

7 – 10 days of expedition style backpacking where students learn about route selection, campsite selection, backpacking techniques and considerations, food planning, time management on trail, and gain experience guiding their peers under instructor supervision.

Canyoneering Guide Course

Multiple days spent descending technical slot canyons where participants will learn slot canyon specific technical skills including anchoring, movement techniques, rigging systems, risk management and navigation. We will also discuss canyoneering hazards and safety.

Rock Climbing Guide Course

Learn traditional climbing from the ground up during our intensive climbing ground school. After students demonstrate proficiency in their technical skills they are sequenced through mock leading in a top rope setting. After completing a number of practice leads students move on to lead traditional climbs of appropriate difficulty grades.

Expedition Planning

In this phase students will work together to create trip objectives, map route options, communicate with appropriate land managers to determine what conditions to expect in the field, research any location specific regulations, and be shown available resources to be used in mapping routes, navigating, and weather forecasting.

Instructional Technique

Participants are given multiple opportunities to teach their peers, as well as outside individuals, during the course, then receive peer and instructor feedback on their teaching performance. Additionally, students will learn to create lesson plans and how to deliver teaching topics and grow in their abilities as instructors and educators in the industry.

Assessment, Certifications, and Teaching Opportunities

To ensure that students receive the most out of our courses and that they are consistently progressing towards accomplishing the objectives of the program, we maintain a culture of continuous assessment and evaluation of students and their skills. The certifications, certificates, and training below ensure that happens.

Teaching Opportunities

Peer Teaching: 7 – 12 hours Client Teaching: 14 – 20 hours

ACA- River Safety & Rescue Skills

Course: 8 hours of river instruction training

Leave No Trace Trainer

Course: 16 hours of field instruction

SOLO – Wilderness First Responder

Course/Exam: 72 to 80 hours

AMGA – Single Pitch Instructor

Course: 24 hours

Staff

Enthusiastic. Energetic. Inspiring. And Experienced.

Our staff is made up of knowledgeable, friendly people who are also serious about providing you with the best training and outdoor experience ever. Each day they demonstrate their passion for serving Jesus Christ through leading by example with a cheerful demeanor.

Our staff members are recruited based on their:

Personality & Ability

Passion for Teaching

Servant's Heart

Relationship With Christ

Qualifications & Skills

Education & Training

Dates & Rates

Wilderness Guide CoursesLengthDatesRatesStatusRegister
Summer 201913 WeeksMay-August$9,000OPENAPPLY
Summer 202013 WeeksMay-August$9,000OPENAPPLY

For any questions regarding the Wilderness Guide program or registration please contact:

Hunter Parrott: Email | 832-693-5381

Payment Policy

  • Payments plans are available. Contact our program director for details.
  • We work hard to have a few scholarship dollars available each semester. Donate to our Scholarship Fund.
  • We can help you find ways to raise funds and apply for grants. Financial Aid
  • If you have questions please contact Scott Chapman.

Tuition Includes:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Training Cost
  • Certification courses and exams
  • Major group gear
  • All travel expenses during the course

Tuition Does Not Include:

  • Travel to and from the program
  • Required personal outdoor gear
  • Pocket money for activities on off days
  • Spending money for personal items
  • Personal recreation
  • Personal health insurance
  • Personal toiletries, bedding, laundry, etc.
  • College credit fees

Sam Miller – Post Semester Survey

Has completing this course given you an idea of what direction you would like to go professionally? If so, what direction is that? Yes, I want to work as a guide or instructor for climbing. Do you feel prepared to pursue a career in the outdoor industry? If no, why...

Tristan Lambert – Post Semester Survey

Has completing this course given you an idea of what direction you would like to go professionally? If so, what direction is that? Yes it has. Doing the WFR and backpacking showed me I enjoy the medical field and the wilderness. In result of that I am pursuing an EMT...

Jordan Fleming – Post Semester Survey

What component of the program did you value most during your time as a participant in this course? The learning experience and the time we got to spend with each other and the community. Very encouraging. Has completing this course given you an idea of what direction...

Elizabeth Richards – Post Semester Survey

What component of the program did you value most during your time as a participant in this course? Definitely the guide mindset and the focus on noticing and employing that. The certifications are a tangible thing that say we are capable of practicing in a certain...

Jordan Fleming – Post Semester Survey

What component of the program did you value most during your time as a participant in this course? The learning experience and the time we got to spend with each other and the community. Very encouraging. Has completing this course given you an idea of what direction...

Julie Kurz – Post Semester Thoughts

What component of the program did you value most during your time as a participant in this course? Definitely the guide mindset and the focus on noticing and employing that. The certifications are a tangible thing that say we are capable of practicing in a certain...

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