British Columbia Essentials Level Program


This program is geared towards individuals who already have some outdoor leadership experience or training and are looking to expand their current skill set with the intention of working in the outdoors. Upon the successful completion of this program, participants will also be able to participate in the Training Academy Mentorship Program to support their career goals for one year after the start of their program. Depending on prior experience, Essentials level participants may be eligible to pursue employment as an assistant or intern guide/instructor, including positions at Outward Bound Canada.

Access vs. Intensive Format

We know that you have a busy life with many different responsibilities. So, in order to make this program more accessible, we are offering two different formats: Access or Intensive.

The Access format splits the program up into two sections over the course of some months and the Intensive format is a continuous model. All meals and accommodation will be provided during any overnight programming.

Centre-based Learning Workshops

Some additional workshops that you can look forward to include:

JUSTICE, EQUITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
TRAUMA-INFORMED OUTDOOR LEADERSHIP
INDIGENOUS LAND PERSPECTIVES
CRISIS INTERVENTION SCENARIOS
COACHING SKILLS
ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERSHIP
CENTRE-BASED LOCATION (ACCESS)

Alex House (Surrey)

CENTRE-BASED DATES (ACCESS)
  • Module 1: November 4-8, 2024
  • Module 2: December 1-6, 2024

Application status will be communicated the week of:
May 3, 2024
*Note: applications will continue to be accepted past this date.

CENTRE-BASED LOCATION (INTENSIVE)

Vancouver Island Mountain Centre

CENTRE-BASED DATE (INTENSIVE)

April 29-May 29, 2024 (*includes Outdoor Journey)
Application status will be communicated the week of:
February 9, 2024
*Note: applications will continue to be accepted past this date.

outdoor journey STARTING location

Camp Gilwell, Courtenay

outdoor journey dates
  • Option 1: May 5-22, 2024
    Activity: Sea Kayaking or Coastal Canoeing
    Application status will be communicated the week of:
    January 29, 2024
    *Note: applications will continue to be accepted past this date.
  • Option 2: October 2-19, 2024
    Activity: Sea Kayaking or Coastal Canoeing
    Application status will be communicated the week of:
    May 3, 2024
    *Note: applications will continue to be accepted past this date.
Activity

Sea Kayaking or Coastal Canoeing

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Outdoor Journey

This program starts with four days of technical and relational skills development at a basecamp or outdoor centre site in preparation for a 12 day Sea Kayak journey. Our field curriculum includes risk management, judgment and decision making; applied outdoor education and leadership skills; group management; food and equipment systems; interpersonal skill development including communication, group facilitation and creating inclusive group spaces; outdoor living skills; technical skills including knots, shelters, ocean travel skills – chart and compass navigation, marine weather, paddling skills, and more.

The Essentials Journey is an intensive experience involving daily travel to new campsites, in field learning workshops, group living and wilderness living in a variety of conditions. Ocean paddling is exhilarating and is also highly technical – it can be physically and emotionally demanding and involves complex decision making, long paddling days and group dynamics. Some level of backcountry travel experience is recommended if you are applying to this program.

Introductory level certification through Paddle Canada and the Outdoor Council of Canada is included in the journey.

Certifications

Through this program, participants will have the opportunity to pursue some of the following certifications, depending on their region:

  • Wilderness First Responder (WFR) (80 hours) or Wilderness Advanced First Aid (WAFA) (40 hours) 
  • Paddle Canada Coastal Canoe Skills
  • Paddle Canada Level 1 Sea Kayak Skills
  • Paddle Canada or ORCKA Lake Water Skills
  • Sea Kayak Guides Alliance Assistant Overnight Guide certification (AOG)
  • Outdoor Council of Canada Field Leader
  • Wilderness Mental Health First Aid (offered as an online module in the Spring and Fall)

*Please Note: WFR, Assistant Overnight Guide and Paddle Canada Advanced Skills or Instructor Courses are only available on a limited basis upon the completion of the Essentials level program, and are based on the individual’s need and career objectives.

View Certification Options

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Have a burning question? We probably have the answer for you! Check out our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more.

See FAQ

Virtual Information Sessions

Join us for our next virtual informational session to learn all about our programs, certifications and ask any questions that you might have!

Coming Soon