PLC Applied Leadership Wilderness Course
Learn to Lead in the Wild
Each summer, PLC runs a wilderness-based leadership development program called the Applied Leadership Wilderness Course. The course gives students an opportunity to practice leading in a challenging, unpredictable, and exciting environment. The course is nearly two weeks long and consists of three classroom days on the University of Colorado Boulder campus followed by eight days of backpacking in State Forest State Park of northern Colorado.
Applied leadership is open to all PLC students, including incoming freshmen. This gives our new students a chance to connect with the program, make incredible friendships, and expand their leadership skills before fall classes even begin. In the classroom portion of the course, students learn aspects of leadership and planning through lectures, practical exercises and mock challenges. Each day ends with an overview of a wilderness hard-skill, such as backcountry safety, Leave No Trace, or water purification and food rationing to prepare students to be comfortable and confident in the wilderness portion of the class.
On an eight-day wilderness expedition, students have numerous opportunities to put their leadership to the test. From leading their team to summit a mountain or taking charge of one of the many complex scenarios given to the groups each day, students have the freedom to try new methods of leadership, advance their own style, and learn from experienced wilderness guides, all in the beauty of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
Students will come away from the course with an ability to confidently lead through rapidly changing and unpredictable situations and with a toolkit of new skills for working in groups, giving and receiving feedback, and problem solving. On top of all that, students will explore a remote and beautiful corner of Colorado’s wilderness, developing a repertoire of backcountry hard-skills along the way.
Registration for current students opens up at the end of each spring semester and is run through the CU Outdoor Program (CUOP). For incoming freshmen who have inquired and been selected into the program, you will be contacted individually with registration information.
Students who participate in the program are responsible for their own housing and meals during the classroom section of the course. Students are also responsible for their own personal gear, to include a backpack, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad, however the PLC guides and staff can assist with locating rental equipment as needed. PLC will facilitate all transportation, group gear (tents, cooking supplies, etc.) and food during the eight- day wilderness portion.