Outdoor Education and Leadership Field Semester

Outdoor Education and Leadership Field Semester students on the water

An outdoor experience unlike anything you've ever done.

The Outdoor Education and Leadership Field Semester (OELFS) provides Westminster students an opportunity to gain significant field experience while traveling through the Intermountain Region of the United States. You'll spend an entire semester away from campus in the field while earning a full semester’s worth of academic credit.

All Outdoor Education and Leadership (OEL) program majors are required to participate in the OELFS. Any Westminster student can apply for the OELFS, but priority is given to OEL majors in good academic standing. OEL 120: Outdoor Leadership is a per-requisite for the OELFS.

The OELFS application opens Nov. 30 and will close on Dec. 13. Accepted students are notified by mid Feb. of the status of their application.

Questions: Contact Kellie Gerbers, OEL Program Director, at kgerbers@westminstercollege.edu.

Field Experience Matters.

If you're looking to work in the outdoor industry, your extended time in the field will make you stand out to employers. The OELFS provides you with the field time and skills you need to be competitive in the outdoor job market. While in the field, you'll develop skills in backpacking, rock climbing, paddling, and canyoneering, as well as in leadership, teaching, communication, decision-making, and risk management.

Field Semester Fee

$5,700 includes a non-refundable deposit, all meals, transportation, lodging, instruction, entry fees and permits, technical and group equipment, and certifications for Wilderness First Responder (either Single Pitch Instructor or Swift Water Rescue) and Leave No Trace Trainer.

The $500 non-refundable deposit is due at registration and 50% of the course fee is non-refundable after May 1. The entire course fee is non-refundable after June 1. The remaining balance is due by Aug. 19.

Program Dates

Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Friday, Nov. 6

Travel Milestones

The Fall 2020 schedule is currently being planned, stay tuned. You can view the previous year's trip on the map.

Sites are listed in the order of travel. This list does not include cities visited on transition days.

Included Courses

OEL 210 Wilderness Education (4)
OEL 220 Adventure Programming (4)
OEL 230 Instruction and Facilitation (4)
OEL 240 Skills Practicum (2)
OEL 245A Wilderness First Responder (2)

Course Descriptions

Expert Faculty

Westminster instructors from the Outdoor Education and Leadership program and the Fitness, Wellness, Recreation Department will bring expertise in geology, outdoor programming, education, Wilderness First Response, leadership, and more.

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Megan Boyer

Adjunct

mboyer@westminstercollege.edu

Megan was born and Raised on the coast of California where her love of the outdoors began. As a young girl, she spent her free time playing outside with her parents and siblings. Family time was spent camping, fishing, backpacking, skiing, sailing, surfing and just about any activity that included outdoor adventures. In 1992 Megan attended Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and Graduated in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation. During this time, she realized her love of rivers and whitewater kayaking and soon became a full-time river guide and kayak instructor. In 1997 Megan became a partner in a whitewater rafting and kayaking business on the Arkansas river in Colorado, and found herself spending summers in Colorado running the river and working as a ski patroller in Utah during winter. Over the past 20 years, Megan’s work and outdoor pursuits have taken her to many new rivers and mountains on four continents. Megan continues to work in the snow in the winter (currently finishing up her 10th year as a backcountry snow cat ski guide) and working on the river in the summer as a whitewater kayak instructor and guide. In her spare time, you can find Megan tending to her garden, managing her honeybees or seeking new adventures with her husband and two Siberian huskies.

Alexa Hudson

Adjunct

ahudson@westminstercollege.edu

Born and raised in western Massachusetts, Alexa worked in experiential education as a high school intern. In her early twenties, Alexa began teaching in earnest. She left the hills of western Mass to teach environmental education to fifth and sixth graders in Alaska, lead a high school immersion program in Thailand and Vietnam, and work in wilderness therapy in Utah. With a bachelor of arts in anthropology, Alexa has also worked in the field of archaeology and taught at the University of Utah’s Archaeological Field School. Over the last four years, Alexa developed the wilderness medicine curriculum at Mountain Education and Development, a local education and guiding company. She also taught rock climbing at the University of Utah, and developed and led two college internship programs in Kenya. Since 2014, Alexa has become enamored with the Outdoor Program at Westminster. Currently pursuing her master of fine arts in fiction, Alexa is also a writer.

Jason Blauch

Adjunct

jblauch@westminstercollege.edu

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Jason found his way to the United States for college and quickly fell in love with the mountains of the West. After a number of years working for various outdoor education companies and working as a climbing guide and instructor, Jason landed a full-time position as the director of outdoor programs at the University of Redlands in California. In 2011, he moved to Salt Lake City to pursue a master's degree in environmental studies and started his current position at Westminster College. His guiding and work as an instructor in outdoor education has taken him to locations all over the world, including Alaska, British Columbia, Mexico, Nepal, South Africa, Namibia, and Kenya. Jason is a current AMGA-certified single pitch Instructor and has completed an AMGA Rock Instructor course. Jason is also a certified wilderness first responder.

Kelly Robbins

Adjunct

krobbins@westminstercollege.edu

Born and raised in rural Oregon near the town of Corvallis, Kelly developed an early affection for the outdoors, spending countless hours exploring the woods near his house. A college soccer career took him to St. Paul, Minnesota, after which he moved to Salt Lake City in the summer of 1999. Kelly began splitboard guiding and teaching avalanche classes for Utah Mountain Adventures during the 2005–2006 season, and he has been teaching for the National Outdoor Leadership School since 2007. In 2010, Kelly completed a level-three avalanche certification with the American Avalanche Institute, and he also finished an MS in outdoor education at the University of Utah in 2011. In addition, Kelly owns and operates the Splitboard Education Collective, where he is able to apply his passion for teaching about splitboards. Kelly has been leading trips and teaching classes with Westminster College since 2010. Despite all the time in the mountains, however, the true pleasures in his life are his wife, Kathleen, and son, Zander.