Ontario 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:


Kinark Outdoor Centre, Minden

  • Module 1: October 28-November 1, 2024
  • Module 2: November 25-29, 2024

*Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.


Kinark Outdoor Centre, Minden


[Closed for Registration]

April 30-May 30, 2024 (*includes Outdoor Journey)
*Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

outdoor journey STARTING location

Kinark Outdoor Centre, Minden

outdoor journey dates
  • Option 1: February 10-15, 2024 [Closed for Registration]
    Activity: Introduction to Winter Camping
  • Option 2: May 7-23, 2024 [Closed for Registration]
    Activity: Whitewater or Flatwater Canoeing
  • Option 3: June 13-29, 2024
    Activity: Whitewater or Flatwater Canoeing

*Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

  • Introduction to Winter Camping
  • Whitewater or Flatwater Canoeing
Apply Now

Outdoor Journey

Introduction to Winter Camping

The focus of this program is building comfort in wintertime travel and group cohesion while learning introductory knowledge and technical skills.  You will spend the first 1-2 nights in cabins preparing with your group and instructors with a focus on learning about winter clothing systems and gear, winter-specific skills such as snowshoeing, firewood processing, and tracking, on day hikes. You will then head out on a 2-3 night overnight excursion on snowshoes, pulling all of your gear on pulks (sleds) to a basecamp location where you will be staying with your group in a winter canvas tent with a stove. You will also have the option to make and sleep in snow shelters. 

Flatwater or Whitewater Canoeing

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 whitewater or flatwater canoe journey. Following our pre-journey programming, you will either be heading out on a 12 day flatwater canoe journey through beautiful lakes or whitewater canoeing along a river filled with history whose shore will serve as our learning classroom for the 12 day journey.

Outdoor Journeys will start at the Kinark Outdoor Centre, but Flatwater Joureys will take place in Algonquin Park or Temagami Lakes. Whitewater Journeys are dependent on water level and will be confirmed closer to the date. However, areas we have traveled to previously include: The Spanish River, Temagami River and the Noire River. Introductory level certification through Paddle Canada and the Outdoor Council of Canada is included in the journey.


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 or ORCKA Moving Water Skills
  • Paddle Canada or ORCKA Lake Water Skills
  • Paddle Canada – Lake Canoe Skills or ORCKA – Basic Canoeing
  • Sea Kayak Guides Alliance Assistant Overnight Guide certification (AOG)
  • Outdoor Council of Canada: Field Leader (Hiking)
  • Outdoor Council of Canada: Field Leader (Paddling)
  • Outdoor Council of Canada: Field Leader (Overnight)
  • 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.


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