Selfies: Outdoor Leadership Program offers more than credit hours |

Selfies: Outdoor Leadership Program offers more than credit hours

The Outdoor Leadership Program is an outdoor education course put on by the Buddy Program and combines students from both Roaring Fork and Basalt High School. The program is partnered with Colorado Mountain College and offers several credit hours for students who sign up — though students and instructors often find it more rewarding than a normal credit style class. Mentors and instructors Kelsey Kirkwood and John Brasier lead the program of 13 students for the entire school year. “This is the best job in the world. We get to spend time in the back country with fun kids.” Brasier said. The program takes students on three multi-day trips and gives students the opportunity to experience the outdoors and the back country in a way they may never have been able to before. The students are also able to take part in a 16-hour, two-day wilderness first aid course which trains them in medical procedures needed in the back country. The course is part of the Buddy Program’s LEAD programs, which brings groups of students together instead of one-on-one mentoring. This method of mentoring has proven to be more accepted by high school students who do better in group settings. The program aims to teach leadership, responsibility, decision making, communication with adults and peers and all sorts of different life skills that they may not necessarily get in the classroom. “I’ve seen such a change in the kids and how they feel, act and treat their time outside,” said Kirkwood. “To enter into their lives and stay something positive, I can kind of advocate for them to have a better future.”All photos and video by PI staff photographer Chelsea Self.

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