Wilderness First Responder near Orlando, Florida

~ NOTE: Florida Courses are postponed until 2022, due to Covid-19 ~
 Wilderness First Responder (WFR), at Wekiwa Springs State Park Youth Camp 
~$795, price may change by 2022; includes lodging. 
Apopka, FL (a NW suburb of Orlando)
tentatively scheduled for: January, 2022 (post Covid-19 vaccine, hopefully.)

Wilderness First Responder (WFR) is the medical course that has become the standard for back-country rangers, river guides, outdoor leaders, as well as NOLS and Outward Bound instructors. It’s also great for those seeking to be more prepared for personal wilderness adventures and potential natural disasters. The course is sponsored by College Outdoors at Lewis & Clark College, and taught by professional NOLS Wilderness Medicine instructors.

While taking this excellent course in Wekiwa Springs State Park (in the Orlando area), snorkel or swim over the lunch break in the turquoise waters of Wekiwa Springs (a major tributary of the Wild and Scenic Wekiva River), and hike or run the many miles of state park trails before or after class each day. 



This 80-hour WFR course will meet 8 to 12 hours per day from 8  AM Wednesday, January 8th - through 5 PM, Friday, January 17th, 2020.  The course schedule (syllabus) may be found here:  https://www.nols.edu/portal_media/wmi/WFR_Schedule_December_2018.pdf

NOTE: There is one day off in the middle of the course, scheduled on Monday, January 13. You’ll appreciate this breather, as the course is fairly intense learning.  Canoeing or snorkeling is an option on this day off.

Class length is generally 8 hours per day, with two evening sessions (scheduled for day 3 and day 8 of the course) of an additional 3 to 4 evening hours.  We recommend you don’t have any other commitments while taking this course, as you will be busy!


Fees for this course cover tuition, lodging in rustic cabins, books, and first aid materials for the scenarios. Meal plans are available for additional cost as listed below:

  • $795 ($650 for Lewis & Clark students) - Tuition -which includes lodging in rustic cabins, with heaters and ceiling fans. Cabins are located around a central bath/shower house.  We plan to place no more than 4 people per 10 bunk cabin at Wekiwa Youth Camp*, so there will be plenty of room, and you can choose your cabin mates if you’d like. (We will have try to have separate cabins available for those who snore.)  
  • NOTE:  lodging (lodging opens Tuesday afternoon, January 7, and closes Saturday morning, January 18- so you can arrive the afternoon the day before the course starts, and leave the morning on the day after the WFR course ends) is included in the $795 tuition price, whether you’d like to use the lodging or not, because the camp we rented to teach this course comes at one price, which includes the cabins.  However, $795 is about the average price, nationwide, for Wilderness First Responder tuition alone, so the lodging is quite a bonus if you’d like to use it.  If you’re a commuter, the lodging may be quite useful because it allows for free daily entry to the park (before park opens at 8 AM, via a gate code), and also covers lodging for you on the two nights of the evening sessions, should you decide to stay overnight.
  • $849- Tuition (including lodging if you’d like it some or all nights) plus Lunches & 2 dinners** (optional, if desired, for commuters. Includes all lunches plus 2 dinners on the days of the two evening sessions, plus all coffee & tea breaks daily)
  • $899 - Tuition (including lodging) with All Meals**, including coffee and tea breaks daily.
  • no motor homes, tents, or camping trailers are allowed at the Wekiwa Springs State Park Youth Camp.  However, you may be able to get a site for a motor home nearby in the Wekiwa Springs State Park campground, or Kelly County Park.

**Group meal plans will accommodate both omnivore/carnivore (meat eaters) and vegetarian diets.

For vegan, gluten free, and other dietary restrictions, or if you don’t want to purchase the meal plan, please bring your own food, pots & pans, cooler, camp stove, utensils, etc. to prepare your own meals (in other words, bring the same kitchen items as if you are car camping.) Picnic tables are provided.

Location Details:

The course will take place at Wekiwa Springs State Park Youth Camp* in Apopka, FL, a NW suburb of Orlando, Florida. It is possibly the most scenic sub-tropical location to get your Wilderness First Responder certification in January.  (Did we mention it is usually warm & sunny, too?) 

Wekiwa Springs State Park encompasses 7,800 acres including palm, pine, wetland and live oak forest (the park boasts 22 distinct plant communities).  The state park has miles of trails and 70 degree F. water flowing year-‘round from crystal-clear Wekiwa Springs (a major tributary of the Wekiva National Wild & Scenic River).  Wekiwa Springs has an output of roughly 45 million gallons of water per day, making it one of the largest springs in Florida.  

Snorkel or swim in the turquoise waters of this giant spring over the lunch break, or the day off, and hike or run the miles of state park trails before or after class each day!

Motorhomes, camping trailers, or tent campers trailers may reserve a site at Wekiwa Springs State Park campground, or at Kelly County Park a few miles away, but you must do this with ReserveAmerica (for Wekiwa Springs) or for Kelly County Park by phone directly, and the overnight camping fee is additional.  The campsites/motorhome sites book up very quickly for this time of year, so you need to reserve well in advance.

How To Register:

You can register by phone or email.  Payment is due at the time of registration.

PHONE: Please call the outdoor program office, 503 768 7117, or if no answer, please call Joe Yuska, the program director, cell (503) 880-5387.   We can accept credit and debit card payments over the phone. We can also accept checks made payable to “Lewis & Clark College” (Postal mail checks to: Lewis & Clark College Outdoors, 615 SW Palatine Hill Road, Portland, OR 97219.)  Americorps grants and 529 College Savings plan payments can be used for this course, but must be processed no less than a month before the course start-  please inquire for details.

REGISTER BY EMAIL: Download this Registration Form fillable PDF (Google Chrome recommended) and “save page as” -before filling in the blanks!- on your computer.   Once the blank form is downloaded and saved, close this Webpage, go into the saved document on your computer, fill it out, and save it again so your information is retained.  Then email it to yuska@lclark.edu.

If you have trouble downloading the fillable PDF, simply print out the registration form on paper, fill it out with a pen, then scan it (or take a good picture with your phone) and email it in. If you prefer not to include credit card information on the form, you can email us the registration form, then make payment over the phone with a card, or by check as indicated above. 


*Due to a scheduling error by the Wekiwa Youth Camp, we have to move to a different facility (Camp Joy at Kelly Park, nearby) for 72 hours, from Friday afternoon through Monday afternoon, January 10-13, 2020.  (Sunday after 5 PM through Tuesday at 8 am is the time off in the middle of this course)  During Jan 10-13, you can stay in Camp Joy bunkhouses or camp out (should you prefer to do that) if you bring a tent with you. If you do not have a car, we will provide transportation.  We move out of Wekiwa Youth Camp at noon on Friday (Jan. 10) and we can move back in to Wekiwa Youth Camp after 3 PM on Monday (Jan 13).  

**Group meal plans will accommodate both omnivore/carnivore (meat eaters) and vegetarian diets. Cost for “All Meals” covers 3 meals/day, from breakfast on 1/8/2020 through dinner on the evening of 1/17/2020, EXCEPT Sunday evening dinner, Jan. 12, when your day off begins. For those staying at Camp Joy on Sunday evening, Jan. 12, there are 3 inexpensive restaurants (Subway, pizza, and a pub/burger place) within easy walking distance.

For vegan, gluten free, and other dietary restrictions, please plan to bring your own food, pots & pans, cooler, and camp stove to prepare, as if you are car camping.