As inhabitants of this planet, educating ourselves on the outdoors is one of our natural rights and responsibilities. Understanding this earth helps us better understand ourselves.
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
— John Fitzgerald Kennedy
That’s one of the reasons why outdoor education is so immensely beneficial to our society. Kids of all ages gain essential skills by working with Mother Nature, including important leadership skills. Here are five leadership skills your students will learn through outdoor education.
5 Leadership Skills Developed Through Outdoor Education
With any plan, there can never be a complete guarantee that things will go as intended. Experiential learning is no exception. There very well may be situations in which you’re placed out of your comfort zone, forced to face difficult obstacles, or simply struggle from the outcome.
Let’s say you’ve embarked on a long tiring hike. Due to a recent storm, a large portion of the trail is now flooded. Rather than giving up and turning around, you and your crew opt to find a new path and finish the hike.
Moments like this are situations that will require you to develop a strong sense of perseverance. A strong leader is not someone who immediately throws down the towel from a roadblock. They see it as an opportunity, after all, when there is a will there’s a way.
Education is a vital way for individuals to become more aware of the world and themselves. Through this awareness, you’re able to develop a greater connection to various interests. Outdoor education only further enhances this connection. By learning more about nature while physically experiencing it, individuals are able to create a stronger passion for our planet.
This passion translates into other areas of your student’s life, whether it be music, technology, helping others, or saving the planet. It could be a breathtaking landscape at the end of a hike, traversing a high-ropes course through the redwoods, or connecting with wildlife as they crawl through a desert habitat — nature inspires in the most beautiful and often unexpected ways. Leaders that know how to get inspired bring real vision to any endeavor.
Mother Nature isn’t the most predictable. Various activities or adventures may bring some unwelcome surprises.
Whether or not you took Drama in school, this is the time where your improv abilities will be put to the test. Dealing with the outdoors requires individuals to roll with the punches and make the best of what they were given.
Ever heard of camping hacks? A lot of times, groups pack out and think they have everything covered, but they forgot the tent poles or maybe the cooking utensils. The good news is, you are surrounded by natural resources and have the tools to fashion your missing gear. Leaders see the unpredictable as a chance to get creative and finish the task at hand.
Exploring and learning in the vast outdoors requires a lot of teamwork. You must be able to work alongside your peers to accomplish tasks and this requires a great deal of communication— verbal and non-verbal.
Communication is debatably the most essential skill of a leader. Whether it’s canoeing, climbing, or hiking —adventures call for specific language cues and gestures to ensure safety.
Students learn effective communication skills by working with each other as well as from the examples set by the nature guides. These skills include sharing the strategy and vision, updating each other on personal and group status and listening. Leaders know that consistent and thorough communication within your team will vastly increase your chances of succeeding.
Outdoor education entails spending hours outside learning more about your peers and your surroundings. That means hours spent developing deeper connections. As would be expected, this increases one’s ability to empathize with others.
Empathy is an essential leadership skill and in turn breads more leaders. Empathy helps you build a team and nurture a new generation of leaders.
“As a leader, you should always start with where people are before you try to take them where you want them to go.” – Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur & Author
While your goal through embarking on an outdoor education expedition may not be to gain these essential leadership skills, outdoor education is beneficial in many ways. Don’t hesitate to jump at your next opportunity to experience the outdoors or encourage others to do so. It just may reward you far more than you had expected.
By taking your students on an adventure to an amazing, nature-centric location, they will develop a deeper understanding of themselves and appreciation for nature. We offer many types of adventure programs is many amazing locations, contact us to learn more about our youth retreats and plan an experience of a lifetime.