Fall is a GO! Head Outdoors with Adventure Education

August 13, 2020

The Department of Adventure Education & Outdoor Leadership will be offering face-to-face instruction following COVID-19 protocols and with the safety of our students and community as our highest priority.

Greenfield Community College (GCC) now offers a new Associate in Science degree option in Adventure Education (AE).

“Franklin County is the recreation capital of the state and our certificate graduates are hired even before they finish.,” said President Yves Salomon-Fernandez, Ph.D.

GCC worked closely with industry partners to develop a program that prepares students for a future in adventure education leadership and is responding to industry labor needs. While the program prepares students to work in outdoor organizations, paddling schools, outdoor schools such as the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and Outward Bound, graduates may also find success in human services organizations, educational institutions that utilize Adventure Education, and a diverse variety of recreational programs and businesses. Bob Tremblay, Coordinator of the Outdoor Leadership Program states “The outdoor adventure industry has been growing and diversifying for many years, and includes many exciting activities such as backpacking, hiking, mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, whitewater canoeing, sea kayaking, wilderness camping, and more.  All of these activities provide multi-seasonal, year-round employment opportunities for our graduates.  Our new Adventure Education degree will open pathways for our graduates to fully pursue their professional and academic passions in many diverse areas of the industry.”

All courses start at the beginner level and then build on students’ unique skills.  The curriculum’s flexible design allows instructors to work with you at your skill level, and help you gain the highest certifications possible relative to your experience and competence in the field. We strive to build a diverse community of learners. We strive to build a diverse community of women and men. Since the program’s inception in 1980, students have ranged from 18 to 60 years, and have varied greatly in their life, educational and employment backgrounds. They have included first-time college students and people with master’s degrees; they have graduated from high school with GEDs, been home schooled and want a non-traditional college experience; they have had spouses and children, represented various sexual orientations, religious affiliations, cultural and ethnic groups, and have managed a range of differences that have most often proven to be their greatest strengths.

In addition, GCC’s students have the opportunity to earn nationally recognized hardskilled certifications including the Professional Climbing Instructors Association (Rock Climbing Instructor), Association for Challenge Course Technology (Challenge Course Practitioner), and Wilderness First Responder Certification. These additional certifications utilize program coursework, making them more attainable to students in the program so that graduating students not only leave GCC with a certificate or a degree in hand, but they can also leave with national certification. The next step is to offer new training and courses to local businesses seeking technical training.

The Associate in Science degree builds upon the long-established Certificate in Outdoor Leadership (OLP).  Since OLP was first launched in 1980, the program has served as a flagship program for the institution and has been accredited by the Association for Experiential Education since the mid-1990s. The new degree option will provide hands-on learning and leadership opportunities for students who are interested in pursuing advanced education in the field of outdoor leadership and education. The program will help prepare students for successful transfer to four-year institutions where they could earn a bachelor’s degree in diverse fields.

Both the 2-year associate degree in Adventure Education and the 1-year certificate in Outdoor Leadership accept applications year-round. Students not majoring in ADE or OLP who meet essential eligibility requirements can enroll in adventure education classes by registering online through the Office of Workforce Development & Community Education: https://noncredit.gcc.mass.edu/ TO

LEARN MORE: gcc.mass.edu/adventure or to apply, visit gcc.mass.edu/adventure/apply or call 413-775-1801

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