Leader Training

During spring training, all leader trainees will be expected to attend all of the training requirements listed below. For specific dates and times, please see our calendar or the cover letter released with the application.

  • Welcome Meeting
  • Weekly Training Meetings (Gaggles)
  • Workshops
  • Wilderness First Aid (WFA)/CPR Training
  • Skillz Day Kickoff + Skillz Day Review
  • Training Trips
  • Pre-FOP
  • FOP!

In addition, each trainee will be expected to contribute 5 volunteer hours to FOP.

Spring Training

In 2017, FOP revamped its leader training and switched to a new model, known as Gaggles. These are weekly, 2-hour meetings held with a low trainee to leader ratio where skills and techniques are taught. Gaggles enable trainees to work closely with current leaders and specializes the training to give greater individual attention. 

In addition to Gaggles, trainees will participate in workshops and discussions facilitated by groups around campus to help leaders support all FOPpers regardless of background and identity. 

Also, get excited for Skillz Day Review, where trainees will face off, demo those outdoor skills they've worked so hard to master, and discover who will be on their training trip! 

Switch Leader Training

All switch leaders need to be lifeguard certified. For those not currently certified, FOP will be offering a free evening course at Blodgett Pool this spring. This is usually an additional 4 hour weekly commitment, but in exchange, you get to hang out at a beautiful lake during FOP and your training trip! All switch leaders are also required to attend Canoe Skillz Day in the spring before training trips.

Wilderness First Aid/CPR Training

All trainees will participate in a weekend-long WFA/CPR course to ensure the safety of both training trips and FOP trips. This course is offered free of change and is a great experience to familiarize leaders with backcountry safety proceedures!

Training Trips

All of this hard work culminates in our May training trips. Trainees participate in a 9-day backpacking or switch-canoe trip with two to three experienced leaders and up to 7 trainees. These trips are both educational and evaluative, giving trainees a chance to practice leading a trip in the backcountry. You'll come back smelling terrible, but feeling accomplished and refreshed, excited for summer and the FOP trip you will lead in the fall!

A Note on Final Selection

Final selection as a FOP Leader does not take place until after the completion of Training Trips. Final selection as a leader depends on our confidence that a leader trainee will be able and comfortable to fully lead a FOP trip in the fall. In rare cases, after the completion of training trips, some leaders may be asked not to lead FOP.


The Leader Community

In addition to the required training events, FOP also offers many opportunities to supplement the training process. Please note that selection as a FOP leader is not determined by whether you attend these events; however, we do believe that training is an important aspect of developing leadership skills and encourage anyone that is interested to take advantage of these opportunities.

FOP Lunch

Every Wednesday at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. in Winthrop House Dining Hall (look out for the weekly reminder email to confirm this location). FOP lunches are awesome! Why? Because FOP leaders and leader trainees come to them. Nothing lifts your spirits like a little injection of FOP community into your week.