Leadership Certification

Students earn the College Outdoors Outdoor Leadership (COOL) certificate by demonstrating proficiency in a multitude of outdoor leadership skills. Although the skills overlap, this is a separate program from the Leadership Trail for leading College Outdoors trips.


Recipients must demonstrate expertise in the following outdoor skills:
  • Leave No Trace principles
  • map/compass use
  • environmental education
  • knot knowledge
  • backcountry kitchen: stove use, kitchen setup, and sanitation
These skills are gained through participation in a range of College Outdoors programming, which must include:
  • Six student leadership training sessions, known as Open Houses (each 1–2 hours in length)
  • One technical skill clinic trip in addition to map and compass training (e.g., ancient forest clinic, mushroom clinic, avalanche safety clinic, and more)
  • Five outdoor trips, including at least one overnight trip, as participant or staff (New Student Trips count!)
  • Wilderness First Responder training (internationally recognized 10-day emergency medicine training; sponsored 3x/year by College Outdoors)
Leadership skills are demonstrated by:
  • Leading an open house
  • Taking on primary leadership for at least one College Outdoors trip
  • Meeting with the Career Center for a resume consultation

Students can apply for COOL certification in their second semester at Lewis & Clark or anytime thereafter prior to graduation. Any requirements completed prior to applying will count towards certification. Interested students should apply through College Outdoors.

One- and two-year tracks are recommended, although participants can take longer. Participants receive emails each semester advising them on their progress and also check in annually with College Outdoors professional staff. Certificates are awarded each semester.

Below is the checklist to track your progress while you work towards receiving this COOL Certificate. 

For questions about the COOL program, contact College Outdoors at outdoors@lclark.edu

Checklist to track progress for COOL Certificate.