Outdoor Recreation and Leadership

Outdoor Recreation and Leadership is one of three concentrations in the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at Radford University. Non-majors can apply to be enrolled in the Outdoor Recreation and Leadership Minor. A contemporary curriculum based on the outdoor industry’s best practices and dynamic experiential learning opportunities, allow successful graduates to obtain employment in a wide variety of non-profit and for profit settings. Learn more about career and job opportunities by exploring the career link below:

Career Opportunities 

Our History

Outdoor Recreation and Leadership encompasses a rich tradition at Radford University beginning in 1967 when the first campcraft class was offered. In 1981, the curriculum shifted to an outdoor leadership preparation curriculum focusing on adventure-based programming.

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Jenna Huggins, a senior recreation, parks and tourism major talks about the opportunities she has had to participate in various institutes within her program. During these experiences, Huggins was able to live and learn in the back country, as well as travel to France.

Concentration Requirements (19 credits)

In addition to the core curriculum and major requirements, those wishing to complete the outdoor recreation and leadership concentration must complete 19 credits by choosing between two options. Click on this link to access the outdoor concentration curriculum.

Wilderness Institute

You will have academic opportunities to develop the skills to organize, lead, and evaluate a variety of outdoor adventure programs. You will develop novice to advanced technical skills in rock climbing, caving, canoeing, kayaking, backpacking, and ropes course facilitation. If you desire a wilderness leadership experience, you can take a five-week intensive summer course. The Wilderness Institute focuses on leadership development, group processing, adventure programming, and outdoor living skills. This course emphasizes leadership development in the field of outdoor recreation involving skill acquisition in hiking, orienteering, camping, backpacking, rock climbing, caving, and paddling.

Certifications

Students have the opportunity to obtain a number of certifications that are integrated into the course work for the concentration and minor. Students will receive the Leave No Trace Trainer Certificate when enrolled in Wilderness Institute or the Outdoor Living Skills class.

Another opportunity exists to obtain Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training for credit. Upon successful completion WFR, the student will receive a national certification recognized by all potential employers. Students will receive their Project Learning Tree certificates to strengthen their ability to teach a variety of environmental education topics. Successfully completing both ropes course classes affords students the ability to earn their level 1 and level 2 RU ABLE challenge course facilitator certifications. These in-house certifications allow the student to become a lead facilitator for our challenge course program.

Campus Resources

You will be able to build technical skills and leadership abilities. For example, you may be employed through RU Outdoors, the adventure programming component of campus recreation. Many of our students serve as trip leaders for RU Outdoors or facilitate the indoor climbing wall located in Peters Hall.

RU ABLE, an experiential learning lab, offers ropes course experiences, team building activities, and adventure-based trips for people of all abilities and ages. Through RU ABLE, you can operate an indoor and outdoor high ropes course and state-of-the-art helix climbing tower on the RU West Campus. This facility serves as the primary classroom for two classes Ropes Course Programming and Advanced Ropes Course Programming. You work your way from an apprenticeship level to senior facilitator.

Radford University operates the Selu Conservancy, which is located fifteen minutes from the main campus and provides a variety of outdoor and environmental opportunities. Selu has 380 acres of forest and grasslands and is named after the Cherokee Grandmother Corn Spirit. Outdoor Recreation students have participated in the construction of several trails, and operate a low ropes course for Selu guests.

See the following link to learn more about additional fees and personal equipment required of all ORLC students:

Link to PDF: Equipment and Fee Information