Outdoor Recreation and Leadership

Students in Outdoor Recreation and Leadership have academic opportunities to develop the skills to organize, lead, and evaluate a variety of outdoor adventure programs. Through coursework, you will be exposed to a variety of adventure activities such as: backpacking, outdoor living skills, rock climbing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, ropes course facilitation, orienteering, and caving. Academic courses are designed to be experiential in nature and emphasize leadership development with attention to risk management, environmental literacy, facilitation skills, teaching ability, and program management. A variety of formal trainings and certifications are interwoven into the curriculum such as: Leave No Trace Trainer Certificate, Wilderness First Responder, Project Learning Tree, and our in-house ropes course facilitator certification. Graduates of the Outdoor Recreation and Leadership program find outdoor based employment in a variety of settings such as: youth agencies, resort settings, public parks and recreation agencies, state and federal government agencies, private guiding businesses, nonprofit organizations, the retail industry, and outdoor education centers.


Recreation Therapy

Recreation therapy is the use of recreational services to improve or maintain physical, mental, emotional, and/or social functioning to assist individuals in expressing independent leisure lifestyles. Comprehensive recreation therapy services involve a continuum of care including: treatment that uses activities to remediate or rehabilitate functional abilities and to assist in diagnosis; leisure education that uses activities to acquire skills, knowledge, and attitudes that facilitate an independent lifestyle and avocational competence; and recreation that uses activities to enhance health, growth, development, and independence through intrinsically rewarding leisure behavior. Within their courses, students use a wide range of assessment and screening tools, personalize individual treatment plans, provide leisure education programs, and facilitate community integration/ reintegration programs.


Tourism and Special Events

All courses in the tourism and special events concentration incorporate “real world” practice by bringing practitioners into classes to share their expertise and experience in the field and by creating field trips for students to visit tourism sites to gain exposure to professionals and develop networking opportunities.  Nature-based tourism such as trail-based activities, water recreation, cycling, and many outdoor recreation activities abound in the region and offer unique niches for tourism as well as a growing demand for craft beverage and unique events.

Using the diverse landscape of the New River Valley and surrounding mountains, students gain knowledge about a multitude of tourism offerings as well as unique special events that add to a vibrant community atmosphere.  During their studies, students take classes in such as Sustainable Tourism, Recreation Entrepreneurship, Experiential Tourism and Events, Professional Advancement in Tourism, and Special Events, among others.