Wilderness Leadership Course

21 Days

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21 Days of In-depth experience in back country skills, adventure sports in amazing locations, and the chance to lead your group in the trip of a lifetime.

Designed for experienced adventurers ages 14-17, this is the ultimate WAEL trip. A Real Interest in Back Country camping and a genuine desire to grow as a leader are important.

Just like on all Wilderness Adventure trips, the Wilderness Leadership Course (WLC) is a fully outdoor experience.  You will camp in backpacking tents, cook backpacker meals on Whisper-lite stoves, and share the accomplishments of the day with your group and leaders by the fire each night.

On this epic trip, however, you will find yourself exercising leadership techniques and achieving group goals in every activity we have to offer.  Your leaders are specially chosen months in advance to plan and prepare your trip.  As well as being the best on our staff, your leaders and activity instructors are some of the best trained, experienced, and personable guides in the industry. For this prestigious trip, each leader and instructor you encounter strives to foster your individual growth through engaging instruction, thorough discussions, and one-on-one feed-back.  


  • The WLC begins on Base Camp with a thorough introduction to group dynamics, leadership styles, and Wilderness Adventure style back country camping, as well as a comprehensive kayak class, roll clinic and belay training. The group, comprised of up to 12 students, 1 female leader and 1 male leader, then venture off-site to immersion in the wilderness of the Blue Ridge region of the Appalachian mountains, The New River Valley, and New River Gorge where you will backpack, bike, paddle, and climb.

  • The next phase of the WLC encompasses multiple days and many miles of classic Blue Ridge hiking and single track mountain biking. You'll master efficiently packing your back pack, setting camp, and cooking back-country recipes (yes, REAL food) as you also learn map and compass orienteering skills, Leave No Trace Ethics, basic wilderness first aid, bicycle maintenance, trail etiquette, and begin to practice group management and leadership techniques.

  • The third phase begins as your group creates the meal plans for the rest of the trip and begin to take over leading the group. Each day there will be two "Leaders of the Day(LODs)." When you are an LOD, together with your co-LOD, you will be responsible for organizing, encouraging and guiding the group through the days scheduled activities. This phase begins as early as the group is ready and usually coincides with the river portion of the trip.

  • The final phase of the WLC will test everything you have learned and practiced throughout your trip to culminate in the  New River Gorge in West Virginia, an area steeped in history and full to the brim with adventure at every level.  At the Gorge you will have access to hundreds of climbs, miles and miles of single track, and relish the pure joy of an adventurer's lifestyle in one of the most revered landscapes in America.

2019 DATES

June 30th - July 2th



Campers will have a first hand experience on how to lead backpacking groups, their leaders will guide them and teach all the leadership skills needed to lead a backpacking group in the outdoors. After this they will apply all the skills learned leading their own peers and have feedback in order to growth as an outdoor leader. 


Campers will learn all the backpacking and camping skills needed for three weeks in the outdoors. Workshops as Setting up Camp, Cooking on backpacking stoves, map and orienteering, Camp Hygiene, hiking techniques and group assessment , Leave No Trace and others are all skills teach and apply  during the Wilderness Leadership Course trip.  


Campers will learn the different stages of group development as well as different risk management scenarios that will help them to lead their peers and being safe in the outdoors. workshops such as swift water rescue and group dynamics are part of the skills taught for campers to be thoughtful and assertive while leading their peers. 


  • Mountain biking: Single track bike riding / Bike and trail maintenance

  • Rock Climbing: Belaying, Climbing technique, Equipment

  • Canoeing: navigation, whitewater canoeing, water traveling.

  • kayaking: 101 Rolling class, paddling techniques, whitewater/ sea kayaking safety equipment.

  • Rafting



Campers will leave Wilderness Adventure confident due all the experiences and accomplishments they had during their trip.  They will gain skills such as assertive communication, group dynamics, risk management that will create a sense of awareness of others and nature and  will help them through their adulthood and will be in them through the rest of their life. Finally being in the outdoors for three weeks will help them to realize there is so much more out there and is only their attitude and skills that will make the trip the best experience of their lives. 


Tuition: $2,900

(Current Discount: 15% Off when you register by March 15th!)

June 30th - July 20th


Ages 14-17






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" You will hike. you will sleep in the ground. you will be without a toilet. you will eat dehydrated food. These things are all part of the experience, however, i will never changed them. I cherish the memories of my weeks at WA more than all my other summer memories. Anytime i feel stressed out by life, I always go back to canoeing on the New River. A perfect day, adrift and at peace on the water. I cannot recall a more fun experience than WA. Nor can i remember a more satisfying feeling than taking off my boots after a long day hike, and then sitting by a campfire, cooking REAL FOOD!!! Thanks WA for providing me with priceless memories and lots of fun! "

Jason Luchs Age 16.