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Prepare yourself for a Lifetime of Discovery

The Outdoor Leadership Program (OLP) prepares NMSU students to plan, implement and lead outdoor recreation and/or cultural activities for the NMSU student body. Participants receive training in group dynamics, teaching techniques, risk management, wilderness first aid, Leave No Trace ethics, and outdoor skill sets such as backpacking and rock climbing.  Each Fall Semester, the OLP seeks highly motivated students who want to enrich their college experience by increasing their leadership skill sets. A new cohort is accepted each Fall, and an Orientation trip follows to introduce and integrate new members into the program.  The OLP equips its student members with practical leadership experiences to compliment their academic degrees and give them the edge in the job market after graduation. Get the most out of your college years, challenge yourself, and apply this Fall!

Training Structure

All selected applicants enter the Outdoor Leadership Program as a technician, and will be invited to attend a mandatory Orientation Trip.

At a minimum, all technicians must complete the following requirements prior to becoming a lead facilitator and leading trips on their own:

  • Wilderness and Remote First Aid
  • NMSU Defensive Driving
  • Leadership and Facilitation Class
  • Low Ropes Course Facilitation
  • A Successful Lead Observation in the field.

Those interested in leading backpacking, mountain biking, canoeing/kayaking, or climbing trips will have to attend additional skill-specific trainings, also offered free of cost to the Student.

All training’s are conducted as one day or two day overnight training’s during the weekends with the exception of Defensive Driving. Program participants have the option of completing their required training’s through the duration of multiple semesters. All training’s are held each semester so students can plan accordingly. Accepted applicants must actively participate in the training’s and program meetings each semester to remain in the program.

Benefits of the Outdoor Leadership Program

  • Community: Becoming a trip leader is becoming part of a family. Leaders run trips together, work, hang out, and have fun together.
  • Discovery: Trip leaders have an opportunity to introduce students to the great outdoors, bringing people where they have never been before and see their discovery. You’ll help people push boundaries, feel better about themselves, and find new and healthy ways to have fun.
  • Education: Your technical and interpersonal knowledge will expand. Through our training’s and development your proficiency will increase as well as how you lead others into outdoor settings.
  • Leadership: Leading trips provides tons of practical real world experience that will benefit any career path. It develops self-confidence, leadership, logistics and communication skills, teaching skills, and problem solving. Every trip can teach you something new about yourself and how you work with others.
  • Purchases/Rentals/Employment: As an OLP member, you receive free rentals from our Outdoor Center, as well as up to a 30% discount off purchases. A lot of our leaders become employed with Outdoor Recreation working at the shop, climbing wall, or instructing classes.
  • Free: As a trip leader, you can plan your ideal outdoor adventure to share with other students at little or no cost to you!

Eligibility Requirements

  • An interest in outdoor activities and sharing those experiences with other NMSU students!
  • Current NMSU main campus undergraduate or graduate student in good standing with two semesters or more left for completion of graduation requirements.
  • Maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA or above.
  • Maintain full time student status during Fall and Spring semesters.
  • Must possess a valid and violation free driver’s license.
  • Lift, balance, and carry personal and group equipment between 35-50lbs.
  • Desire to learn how to teach, lead, supervise, and provide fun and meaningful activities for the NMSU student body on campus and in outdoor environments.

A qualified student is one who meets the OLP’s eligibility requirements with or without reasonable accommodation. A student with a documented disability is entitled to receive a reasonable accommodation that will effectively enable them to participate in the Outdoor Leadership Program.

Want to know more before submitting you application?  Come visit with OLP members at our Info Meeting!

 Information Meeting: 

January 19th @ 5:00pm

Room 103 of the Activity Center.

How To Apply: (application deadline January 21st, 2022)

  1. Submit an application on Handshake:
  2. Print the APPLICATION PACKAGE pdf.  Send to Kenneth Coppedge. (

For additional information, contact Kenneth Coppedge.