Poly Escapes

Outdoor Leadership Program

$350 Students / $350 Non-Students

General Information


Upon successful completion of this quarter-long, multi-day training program, participants will be able to demonstrate competency in backcountry and wilderness group management, trip planning, packing, and evaluation, group dynamics management, wilderness medicine, leadership in diverse groups, technical backpacking and camping skills, outdoor ethics, risk mitigation and assessment, navigation and orientation, and more.

While no previous outdoor experience is required, the ideal participant has basic leadership experience, a passion for outdoor recreation, and an eagerness to learn.


Expectations and Goals

It is expected that those who register participate fully in the program, prioritizing training and meeting dates accordingly. Participants must be able to maintain this commitment throughout the quarter.

The nature of this course is one of collaboration, and it is expected that all participants and instructors are treated with respect. Participants will be expected to navigate difficult and uneven terrain, acknowledge the inherent risks of recreating outdoors, give and receive peer feedback, and participate in structured group activities, discussions, and learning. Weekend instruction and field experiences required. Participants will be asked to evaluate themselves and one another in order to facilitate discussion around leadership development.


Course Details

What is Included?

The purpose of this course is to offer an extensive training program that equips participants to be well-rounded outdoor enthusiasts or outdoors leaders. The following will be included in this course offering and will be fully encompassed by registration cost:

  • Poly Escapes Outdoor Leadership Training Manual, complete with information outlining all training topics
  • An Adult CPR/ AED certification, issued by the American Red Cross
  • A Wilderness and Remote First Aid certification, issued by the American Red Cross
  • A personal Adult/Child & Infant CPR Resuscitator Mask
  • A Leave No Trace Awareness Workshop, certificate issued upon successful completion
  • 16+ hours of backcountry and outdoor skill training, topics including stove use, campsite selection, water filtration, trail navigation, trip planning and assessment, risk management strategies, shelter building, backcountry cooking and meal planning, group facilitation, and intrapersonal leadership skills
  • A California Food Handler’s course; certificate issued upon successful completion.
  • An opportunity to work alongside approximately 12 like-minded individuals, complete with the opportunity to give and receive feedback that is very valuable to one’s personal and professional development
  • A three-day, two-night camping trip up California’s Central Coast, complete with all gear necessary, food, transportation, and in-person opportunities for skill development and backcountry instruction
  • An opportunity, upon successful completion, to meet the criteria listed in the Poly Escapes Trip Leader job description


Course Registration Information

Registration will be available online, or in person, during business hours at the Poly Escapes Rental Center. The course registration fee of $350.00 encompasses all instruction, materials, gear, and certifications, as well as the weekend-long camping trip. More specific information will be sent out via email upon registration. This course is not an academic course, and academic credit is not offered. Although this is not a graded course, evaluations will be in place, and participants are expected to be present on all course dates.

All sales are final, and refunds will be given only if another participant has joined the waitlist and is able to fill the spot. Exceptions may be made in regard to COVID-19 cases. In some instances, due to issues beyond our control such as inclement weather or road closures, trips may be canceled or relocated. In these instances, participants will receive refunds, or have the choice to do so.