“I expected it to be fun, and to be powerful,
but I didn’t realize that it would be so rewarding to be a leader.”
Student leaders, who are selected from a group of highly competitive applicants, are the backbone of the LandSea program. Although the patrol leaders are usually all current students, they serve as the front line of the program by facilitating the participants’ experience, offering support, teaching skills, and role modeling. They encourage the new students to challenge themselves to attempt things they do not think they can do, reflect on their passage from high school to college, open themselves to others, build effective relationships, and take responsibility for themselves.
The tools used to build the leaders’ skills and support them in their important role have improved considerably over the past four decades. All leaders earn a Wilderness First Responder certification from Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities, a national organization we hire to come to campus in June.
Prior to the arrival of the students for the start of LandSea, the leaders go through an intensive 14-day Leader Training. During training, time is spent honing both wilderness and leadership skills as well as providing leaders with positive and developmental feedback regarding their skills and leadership behaviors. The result is a high-performance team committed to the goals of LandSea and ready to lead the program.