Outdoor Leadership
  (PE 386 )

Ron Watters, Professor of Outdoor Education

Class Syllabus
Outdoor Leadership (PE 386)

Idaho State University College of Education

Department of Sport Science & Physical Education
PE 386 Outdoor Leadership                                                     Ron Watters
2 Credit                                                                                    Outdoor Program Office
Spring Semester                                                                       208.282.3912 / wattron@isu.edu
Workshop Format (See below)                                                Office Hours (See Below)
Course Website
Additional information about the course and related materials is found at the following URL address:  http://www.isu.edu/~wattron/Leadership.html
Course Instructor, Office and Contact Information
Ron Watters is an adjunct faculty member of the Physical Education Department.  He is the former director of the ISU Outdoor Program and the author of seven books on outdoor activities.  He is one of the founders of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and is the director of the National Outdoor Book Awards. 
Note that he is a part time instructor and does not have office hours like full-time faculty.  Feel free to contact him via email (wattron@isu.edu).  You may reach him at the Outdoor Program


Course Description
"Designed to provide students with the knowledge to organize and lead outdoor activities.  Includes leadership styles, liability, program promotion, planning, safety, and environment impact.  Practical experiences are included."
Targeted Standards
Targeted Idaho State University Outdoor Education Standards include Standard 1 (Content Knowledge); Standard 2 (Teaching and Leadership Strategies); Standard 3 (Safety and Minimal Impact); and Standard 5 (Experiential Skills and Field Experience).
Course Content
The Outdoor Leadership class is made up of two broad components:  leadership theory and hands-on outdoor skills instruction.  Classroom work takes up the first of the class and consists of information about organizing and coordinating activities in an outdoor setting.  Topics covered include leadership styles, group dynamics, teaching styles, facilitation techniques, adventure game programming, ethics, gender issues, liability, promotion, planning meetings, safety, emergency procedures, and trip evaluation.  During the second half of the class, the course work becomes more pragmatic, and students will have an opportunity to assume leadership roles and/or help teach basic outdoor skills.
Course Schedule
The course is held in a modified workshop format, over a 4-week period:
First Week (Third Week in March)
Wednesday March 22 Clearwater Room:  Evening Lecture 7:00 - 10:00 pm (3 hours) 
Thursday March 23 Clearwater Room:  Evening Lecture 7:00 - 10:00 pm (3 hours)
Saturday  March 25 Portneuf Room:  Lecture & Field Sessions  8:00 am - 5:00 pm (8 hours)
Second Week (Last Week in March)
Wednesday March 29 Clearwater Room:  Evening Lecture 7:00 - 10:00 pm (3 hours) 
Thursday March 30 Clearwater Room:  Evening Lecture 7:00 - 10:00 pm (3 hours)
Saturday  April 1 Clearwater Room:  Lecture & Field Sessions  8:00 am - 5:00 pm (8 hours)
Third Week  (First Week in April)
Wednesday April 5 Clearwater Room:  Evening Lecture 7:00 - 10:00 pm (3 hours) 
Thursday April 6 Clearwater Room:  Evening Lecture 7:00 - 10:00 pm (3 hours)
Saturday  April 8 Leadership Project (8 hours)*
Fourth Week (Second Week in April)
Sunday or following Saturday - Conservation Project  (6 - 8 hours)*
* It is your choice when you schedule your leadership and conservation projects.  However, since reports are due on the Friday of Closed Week, the time available to complete your projects is limited.  (Note: Closed Week is the week before finals.  In other words, your project must be completed two weeks before Final Week.)
Text and Readings
No text is required, but material and readings come from the following:
Ewert, A. (1989). Outdoor Adventure Pursuits.  Worthington: Ohio: Publishing Horizons.
Heider, J. (1985) The Tao of Leadership.  Atlanta: Humanics.
Miles, J. & Priest, S. (1999)  Adventure Programming.  State College, Pennsylvania: Venture Publishing.
Priest, S. & Gass M. (1997). Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming.  Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.  (Primary source) 
Rohnke, K. & Butler, S. (1995).  Quick silver: Adventure games, initiative problems, trust activities and a guide to effective leadership.  Dubuque, Iowa: Kendal/Hunt Publishing.
Other References
On the course webpage (http://www.isu.edu/~wattron/Leadership.html), you'll find links to several helpful resources which supplement class lectures and activities.  Additional resources are available in the Outdoor Program library and resource center.  In the library you'll find maps, guidebooks, magazines, videos and catalogs, all of which are available on a free check-out basis.  The Outdoor Program office is open 9 to 5 weekdays.
Course Projects
In addition to regular class assignments, three projects are required for the course.  The projects consist of the following:
Project #1: Leadership of an Outdoor Activity
Plan and organize an outdoor activity.  You have two options:  
Option 1: Organizing an Outdoor Trip.  Trips must be of a common adventure nature where individuals share in the expenses of the trip and must be at least six (6) hours in duration.  Choose activities which are fairly easy and something that other students would enjoy:  hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, canoeing, etc.  A trip sheet must be posted in the Outdoor Program office, at least two (2) other people must sign up, and all trip expenses must be shared.  Additionally, all participants must sign a common adventure sign-up sheet, a copy of which is to be turned with your Summary Paper.
Option 2: Planning a Scout, Youth or Church Group Activity.  You may also plan an activity for a scout, youth or church group.  Examples of acceptable activities include map and compass, hiking, nature walks, camping, fishing, cross-country skiing, canoeing, etc.  Adventure games including team building, trust and initiative activities are also acceptable.  Activities not acceptable include traditional sports such as baseball, soccer, golf, basketball, etc.  The activity that you plan should be at least five to six (5-6) hours in duration--or you may plan two activities, each of which should be at least two (2) hours long.  All participants must sign a sign-up sheet or liability release form, a copy of which is to be turned in with your Summary Paper.
Requirements include the following:  

1. You must have everyone on the outing sign a sign-up sheet or liability release form.  If you conduct a trip through the Outdoor Program, a trip sheet must be posted in the Outdoor Program office at least a week before the trip is to take place.
2. At least two (2) other people must be on the outing.  You can not charge for the trip.  Trip expenses must be shared among the participants. 
3. Report.  A report of the activity, at least three pages long, should be turned in to the Outdoor Program Office (downstairs, Student Union) by date indicated by the instructor.  The paper must be typed.  The first two pages should be an over-all summary of the activity.  Include such topics as:  a) The date, time, location and duration of the activity;  b) Information on how you prepared for the event or trip; c) What specific activities were a part of the event or trip;  d) What equipment was required; e) What problems did you experienced; f) And finally, what did you learn through the activity.
The last page should be a copy of a sign-up sheet or a liability release form with the signatures of all trip participants.  If you helped with a class, include a list of the students in the class.

Project #2: Plan and organize an Outdoor Conservation Project
Plan, organize and conduct one of the following: a conservation project, community clean-up, or a project which helps the outdoor environment.  Sample projects include organizing a work group to do maintenance on a hiking trail (removing downed timber and protecting it from erosion), organizing a crew to plant willows along a stream to improve fish habitat, organizing a group to clean-up a campsite, or organizing a few friends to pick up litter in park, along a river, or a popular outdoor recreation area. 
Requirements include the following:
1. Before undertaking a project (and if appropriate), obtain approval from the appropriate public land manager. 
2. At least two (2) other people in addition to yourself must be involved in the project.  Class members may combine together on projects but no more than two (2) members of the class should be on any one project.
3. The project should be at least four (4) hours in duration. 
4. If possible, document the project by taking before and after photographs.  If you are unable to take photographs, carefully describe the conditions before and after you do your work.
5. Report. Put together a two-page report of your project.  The report must be typed.  Include the location, date, and names of individuals who helped, information on how you planned and organized the activity, and the results of your work.

Project #3: Compile an Outdoor Journal
A final requirement of the class is to compile outdoor trip log and/or journal.  Trip logs are useful as a resource for planning and organizing outdoor activities--and related experiential activities such as adventure games and team building exercises.  They provide you with a personal record of your past outdoor activities.  Moreover, they are particularly useful if you ever apply for work in the outdoor field.  Oftentimes, applications for outdoor education jobs require a list of your experiences in the outdoors, and there's no better source of information from which to work as an outdoor journal.
            For this project, you'll need a notebook.  A good size to use is a notebook with the approximate dimensions of 9" x 6", but you are welcome to select a size and format that you are most comfortable with.
            Unlike the reports required for the first two projects, you do not have to provide the journal in a typed form.  In fact, it is recommended that you write out the entries by hand, since the idea is to create something that is convenient and that you'll continue to use in the future.  You can make the journal as fancy as you wish.  It is not required, but, if desired, you can paste in photos or maps, or drawings.
            At least four (4) photocopied pages from your journal are required.  (Don't hand in your original journal.  You'll want to keep it and add to it as you do more outdoor trips and activities.)  Among the photocopied material that you hand-in, include one outdoor trip that you've taken sometime in the past, and a description of at least two adventure games (ice breakers, initiative tests, or trust activities) that you can use with a group.
            In the trip description, include the following: 1) dates;  2) where;  3) what you did;  4) who was with you, along with any other comments you want to add.

Due Date for Projects and Outdoor Journal
The spring is a busy time and weekends go by quickly.  Thus, it's important that you begin working on your projects as early as possible.  All projects must be completed by the weekend prior to Closed Week.  A photocopy of your outdoor journal and the two reports (see above) are due no later than 5:00 pm, Friday of Closed Week.  Turn in your reports to the Outdoor Program office, located downstairs in the Student Union Building.
Note:  Closed Week is the week before Finals.  In other words, you need to have your project reports turned in the Friday before Final Week. Papers handed in late receive an automatic reduction of one grade for each day late.  Anything handed in after Wednesday of Final Week is given an "F."


Course Requirements and Attendance Policy
Since this course meets on a workshop basis, attendance is critically important.  The bulk of the class takes place on the two weekend days planned in the schedule.  Not attending one of the weekend days is equivalent to missing as much as four to six weeks of a normal class.  Missing that much of a class in which participatory activity is a key component is unacceptable.
Additionally, many of the evening class periods also include hands-on activities.  Like the weekend days, once missed, there is no way to make them up.  If you look at the schedule, you'll see that there are only six evening class periods.  One of those class periods is used for testing.  That leaves five evening classes.  If you miss four or more of the evening classes, you've missed nearly everything.  Thus, course policy also requires that you not miss any more than three evening class periods. 
You must attend all weekend days to receive credit for this class -- and you must not miss more than three evening classes.  If you are unable to attend either of the two weekend days or you have conflicts with the evening classes, your only option is to drop the course.  The instructor will be happy to assist you by signing a petition to drop the class, and, if desired, you can take the class at a later time.
Remember, attendance on the two weekend days is mandatory.  And you must not miss more than three evening class periods.  If you can not maintain this level of class attendance, you can not receive credit for the course.


Evaluation Criteria and Grading Scale
College of Education approved percentage scale is utilized:
A = 94 - 100
A- = 90 - 93
B+ = 87 - 89
B = 84 - 86
B- = 80 - 83
C+ = 77 - 79
C = 74 - 76
C- = 70 - 73
D+ = 67 - 69
D = 64 - 66
F = Below 63
This class involves learning physical skills, participating in outdoor activities, and practical teaching experience.  The final grade is based on the following six components:
25% Attendance and Class Participation
15% Leadership Project
15% Conservation Project
5% Outdoor Journal
15% Mid Term
 25% Final Exam
Attendance and Class Participation.  Since much of this class involves active participation, attending class is critically important.  With many courses, it possible to study the text, borrow lecture notes from fellow classmates and manage to get by even if you miss a large portion of the class.  Outdoor Leadership is different.  It's similar to a lab class.  The more hours that you are absent, the more practical, hands-on material that you don't learn.  That's why an attendance component is calculated into the final grade. 
If you attend all classes, you receive a 100% for the "Attendance and Class Participation" portion of your grade.  It's certainly understandable if you miss one of the evening lectures due to illness or a conflict, and, thus, you can miss up to 3 hours and still maintain an "A" in the Attendance & Class Participation portion of your grade.  Beyond the three hour limit, however, there is 7% drop in the Attendance component of the grade for each hour missed:
Attend all classes:  100% (A)
Miss 3 hours of class:  95% (A)
Miss 4 hours of class:  88% (B+)
Miss 5 hours of class:  81% (B-)
Miss 6 hours of class:  74% (C)
Miss 7 hours of class:  67% (D+)
Miss 8 hours of class:  60% (F)
Note: You can not received credit for the course if you miss one of the Saturday class periods -- or if you miss three evenings of class. 
Sample Grade Calculation:
25% Attendance and class participation = 95%
15% Leadership Project = 86%
15% Conservation Project = 81%
5% Outdoor Journal = 98%
15% Mid Term =71%
25% Final Exam =85%
Final Grade = (.25 x Attendance) +  (.15 x Leadership Project) +
                      (.15 * Conservation. Project) + (.05 x Outdoor Journal) +
                       (.15 x Mid Term) + (.25 x Final Exam)
Final Grade = (.25 x .95) + (.15 x .86) + (.15 x .81) + (.05 x .98) + (.15 x .71) + (.25 x .85)
Final Grade Percentage = 86%
Final Grade = B (Using the chart above)
Physical Activity Required in the Class
Some parts of this class will take place outside, and it will involve moderate physical activity.  You should be physically fit enough to hike two or three miles.  While outside, the weather can be variable: rain, snow, wind, and even sunny and hot.  Be prepared for all sorts of conditions and be sure to dress appropriately.
Acknowledgement of Risk
This is a course which involves some physical activity in the outdoors.  It's important that you understand that there are risks involved whenever you participate in outdoor activities.  While we try to provide a safe environment, we can not guarantee your safety.  In particular, there are inherent risks that cannot be eliminated without drastically altering the character of this activity.  The same elements that help create the unique character of this activity may also be the cause of loss or damage to your equipment, accidental injury, illness, or in extreme cases, permanent trauma, disability or death.  By participating in this class, you acknowledge that these risks exist and you and your heirs agree not to bring legal action should a problem occur.  We ask that you help the instructor keep the class safe by watching for potentially dangerous situations and informing the instructor and fellow class members.  You are under no obligation to remain in the class.  If at any point, prior or during the class, you decide that you would rather not accept the risks, just notify the instructor and you'll be allowed to drop the class.
Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and cheating.  For more information refer to the ISU Student Handbook found on the following webpage: www.isu.edu/references/st.handbook/conduct.html#CONDUCT.  For definitions of cheating and plagiarism, see the ISU Faculty and Staff Handbook (Part 6, Sec. IX, page 6.9.1) found on the webpage: www.isu.edu/fs-handbook/part6/6_9/6_9.html
Assessment Consent
A part of institutional and state outcomes assessment requirements, and state and national program accreditation requirements, the College of Education collects copies of performance assessments and assessment data for the purposes of individual and program accountability.  By enrolling in this course, you consent to have your assessment information collected and utilized by the College of Education for these purposes and as part of credibility studies supporting the validity, consistency, and fairness of the assessments. To protect your confidentiality, when summary reports are published or discussed in conferences, no information will be included that would reveal your identity.  If photographs, videos, or audiotape recordings of you obtained from your performance assessments are used to demonstrate program accountability, then your identity will be protected or disguised, or we will ask you for permission to disclose your identity in order to give you credit for your performance. We may disclose the assessment information we collect about you under other circumstances as permitted or required by law. Assessment data are maintained and disclosed in accordance with Idaho State University policies to insure compliance with the provisions of the Federal Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended.  If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Peter Denner at 282-4230 or dennpete@isu.edu.
Reasonable Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The Sports Science and Physical Education program is committed to providing classroom and field environments in which all students may achieve their potential.  If you have a disability or think you have a disability (physical, learning, hearing, vision, psychiatric) which may need reasonable accommodation, please contact the ADA Disabilities & Resource Center as early as possible.  The Center is located in Room 123 of Graveley Hall on the lower Idaho State University Campus.  Its phone number is 282-3599.
Evaluation of Course and Instructor
College of Education course evaluation forms will be distributed at the end of the class at which time you'll have an opportunity to evaluate the course and the instructor.  .

Outdoor Education Majors:  Portfolio Requirements
Idaho State University Sports Science and Physical Education Department

Note:  the following is only required if you are a physical education major with an outdoor education emphasis through the Sports Science and Physical Education Department.  If you are majoring in another subject, you can disregard the information below.

If you are an outdoor education major, you are expected to compile a personal portfolio.  You'll want to begin saving information for your portfolio as soon as you undertake your course of study.  For example, as part of the requirements of PE 220 (Foundations of Physical Education and Sport), you will develop a professional resume.  A resume is one of the required components on list below and you'll want tuck it away for your portfolio. 

Portfolio material may be placed in a three ring binder or in a portfolio case.  You'll be asked to submit your portfolio as a requirement for PE 445 (Methods of Teaching Outdoor Activities and Practicum).  Note:  if you have not completed all of your outdoor education class work at the time you take PE 445, you will need to present your portfolio for a final check with your advisor.  This must be done NO LATER than two weeks prior to graduation.

The following is a list of portfolio requirements.  You may also add appropriate professional information that you think is relevant to your career search.

Required Components

  1. Professional Resume.  (Foundations of Physical Education and Sport - PE 220).
  2. Transcript.  (Make a copy of your ISU Transcript)
  3. An Outline of Your Program of Study.  (List of classes you have completed toward your major degree.  This information, of course, is included on your transcript, but in this document, you should list only the classes you have taken for your major.)
  4. Evidence of Completed Current First Aid Requirements.  (If Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder does not appear on your transcript, then you will need a photocopy of a current wilderness first aid certificate.)
  5. Leadership Project Report.  (Outdoor Leadership - PE 386)
  6. Community Conservation Project Report (Outdoor Leadership - PE 386)
  7. Outdoor Journal.  (Outdoor Leadership - PE 386)
  8. Examples of Lesson Plans Created.  (Outdoor Methods - PE 445)
  9. Outdoor Practicum Report.  (Outdoor Methods - PE 445)
  10. Risk Management Plan.  (Risk Management & Liability - PE 384)
Other Components to Consider (Not Required)

  • Evidence of professional presentations, i.e., copies of PowerPoint slides, presentation outlines, hand-outs, and other materials (Outdoor Leadership - PE 386; Risk Management  - PE 384; Methods - PE 445)
  • Material and dates from professional conferences you have attended.
  • Reading lists from Outdoor Literature - PE 440.
  • Names of professional organizations (physical education or outdoor education) that you may belong to and material from these organizations (Foundations - PE 220). 
  • Professional literature you have published or research projects completed.

Helpful Links:
Information on Outdoor Education Degree Programs at Idaho State University

Idaho State University Outdoor Program Home Page

Idaho State University Department of Physical Education and Sports Science Home Page