Harvard Outing Club

Lead With Us!

Our Leader Training Program

This year’s leader application has closed. Please check back next fall!

Each year the club runs a leader training program, accepting applications in the fall for the year’s class. The application information is sent out over the club’s mailing list, so you’ll want to join if you’re interested in applying. No outdoor experience is necessary, but it’s certainly a plus. We’re mostly looking for outdoors-loving, fun-loving people with a desire to lead, learn, and spend time outside. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email our Vice President, Emily Schanzer.

The training program consists of a few different elements:

  1. First-Aid Training: We require that all leaders have current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and CPR certifications. The club offers a 2-day WFA course through SOLO each year for HOC leader trainees.
  2. Outdoor Leadership and Skills Sessions: We run several evening skills sessions, on things such as stoves, map and compass, and club policies and procedures. Things we’ll cover along the way include cool knots, Leave No Trace, group dynamics, emergency management, backcountry cooking, and more.
  3. Training Trips: We also run two weekend-long training trips, one in the fall and one in the winter, lead by some of the club’s senior leaders. The purpose of these trips is to practice the skills you’ve learned and get comfortable leading in the outdoors. They’re also super fun!

What are we looking for in applicants?

We don’t require that you have tons of outdoors experience! We’re looking for people who have sound judgement, and who are excited about getting outside and getting involved in the club.

What’s expected of trainees?

You’ll be required to attend a half-dozen hourlong evening skills sessions, come on both training trips, and complete your WFA and CPR training. In addition, each trainee is required to co-lead two official HOC trips with a senior leader during the spring semester. We also strongly recommend that trainees come on our 5-day Wintercession trip at the end of J-Term. You’ll get to practice your leadership skills, and it’s lots of fun too! Finally, trainees are encouraged to attend our weekly leader meetings on Monday nights. That may sound like a lot, but it should sound fun as well — we’re looking for people who will stay committed to the club, lead trips regularly, and have a positive impact on what we do.

Trainees chef up dinner on their training trip
Leaders relax at HOC’s weekly Happy Hour


Most of the training will be during the fall semester, as we try to run the first training trip after much of the skills training but before it gets too cold and snowy. We’ll go over this more fully during your interview and answer any questions you have about it.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions

Oliver Wendell Holmes

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