In addition to a rigorous Great Books curriculum to form the mind, and an authentically Catholic spiritual environment to enrich the soul, Wyoming Catholic College has also committed to forming the body through a unique educational experience called the Outdoor Leadership Program (OLP).
The OLP is an integral part of the liberal arts education at Wyoming Catholic College. It was created to not only serve the vision of educating our students in body, mind and spirit but also to help our students develop strong leadership skills. Our mission is to provide the foundations of leadership that are applicable in all fields, and graduate young adults ready to be leaders in their communities, their professions, their country, and their Church. The Outdoor Leadership Program helps fulfill the mind, body, and spirit vision for education at Wyoming Catholic College by providing students with direct experiences in the first great book of God’s creation.
Students participate in the OLP throughout their four years at WCC. While much of the educational component takes place in the beautiful environs of Wyoming, significant classroom portions are required as well. The program focuses on several key areas: learning wilderness travel and backcountry skills, personal development, and learning and practicing leadership skills such as teamwork, communication, and decision making. Students also receive focused horsemanship training through the freshman horsemanship courses.
Each student's college career at WCC starts with the 3 week Freshmen backpacking expedition. This course is entirely led by WCC college students and alumni who have extensive backcountry experience and have completed the college's 3 week professional instructor course. These leaders are specifically selected due to their solid backcountry skills, decision making skills, leadership ability and other backcountry skills as well as having a strong ability to relate to the freshmen and being a model WCC student being successful in all aspects of the college including mind, body and spirit. Being led by current WCC students and alumni allows the trip to be authentically Catholic and authentically WCC. Freshmen are led by those who have experienced this trip in the past and have lived in the college culture and know what challenges and successes future freshmen will have over the course of their next four years. This course focuses first on immersing freshmen into God's First Book and further developing their faith with a novel experience living in close connection with creation and their community void of the distractions often present in our busy lives. Secondly, the course focuses on preparing them for their next four years at WCC through the natural social, physical, mental and emotional challenges that emerge in the outdoor classroom. This course is an orientation to the college culture, the tight community we have at WCC, the spiritual sacraments and formation including daily mass, spiritual direction and conversation with upperclass students, alumni, the other freshmen in the group and a priest on the trip. Ultimately, the leadership skills, virtues practiced, close connection to God's First Book, strong relationships that are built on the trip and personal development gained on this trip will transfer to their future life at the college and beyond. The outdoor trips are not aimed at developing outdoor leaders or outdoor enthusiasts. Rather, the outdoor experiences further develop the whole person in order for each student to be the best person and best Catholic leader one can be in any vocation throughout one's life.
To learn more about the individual components of the OLP, see the menu at left.