Leader requirements and procedures

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This page should reflect the most current leader certification processes in the various clubs. A list of current DOC leaders and their qualifications can be seen here.

Leader Training in the DOC

All trips and activities in the Dartmouth Outing Club are planned, organized, and led by Dartmouth students. In order to ensure that DOC leaders are capable of dealing with the many unpredictable situations which may occur on an outdoor trip, the Club requires that all members become proficient in appropriate skills before leading trips.


Every leader in the Dartmouth Outing Club must complete the following five requirements: First Aid and CPR, Risk Management, Group Dynamics, Outdoor Skills, and Logistics. These requirements do not have to be satisfied in any particular order. Each club has its own leadership program which fulfills the Outdoor Skills, and Logistics parts of the DOC Leader Requirements, and also have other requirements necessary in addition to the the DOC Leader Requirements before their leaders can lead trips in those clubs.

Club Leader Requirement Documents

To view the requirements for leadership of each individual club, visit this folder and click through to the appropriate document.

First Aid and CPR

Every DOC leader must have current First Aid and CPR certification as a minimum. Wilderness First Aid training is preferred and may be required by some clubs, although other certifications will be accepted. SOLO Wilderness First Aid and CPR classes are offered at least once per term at Dartmouth. Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes may also be offered (not a Wilderness First Aid class). There is a fee for these classes, but some financial assistance may be available from the DOC.

Risk Management

The Risk Management class teaches the assessment and minimization of risk in the outdoors, and how to respond to emergency situations. The Risk Management class is offered once per term by the DOC, or more often if there is sufficient interest.

Group Dynamics

The Group Dynamics class teaches the skills involved in leading groups of people in the outdoors. The class covers integrating friends and strangers into a single group, handling problem individuals and situations, switching between leadership styles, and other skills and techniques useful for creating a fun safe trip. The Group Dynamics class is offered once per term by the DOC, or more often if there is sufficient interest.


In order to properly manage the administration of leading a trip, DOC leaders must be trained in the appropriate logistical procedures, including, but not limited to: planning a trip; taking sign-ups; reserving vehicles and other facilities (cabins, meeting rooms, etc); obtaining and using purchasing cards and other financial procedures; reserving and renting gear.

This requirement is typically satisfied by completing co-leads within each club, but a separate training seminar may be offered.

Outdoor Skills

In order to safely and capably execute the outdoor activities of the club, DOC leaders must have a high level of outdoor skill. Each club trains and vets their leaders through specific established processes. A separate skills training course may be offered.

The other requirements are listed for each club.

Basic/Level 1 Trips

In order to facilitate access to the club's resources and activities, no leadership seminars or training is required to organize non-technical trips.

Because the individual organizing the trip will still be representing the club, the Chair(s) must approve both the trip and the organizer. This approval should take into account the organizer's ability to manage group dynamics and logistics and to properly represent the club's values and aims.

If the trip involves driving, any drivers must be approved through the normal process.

The type of trips covered by this exemption are meant to be ones where minimal risk is involved. They are frontcountry, non-technical activities, such as might be run by any other student organization.

Examples of such trips might include, but are not limited to:

  • Apple Picking
  • Contradancing
  • Lodge Dinner
  • Rides to remote facilities/events (climbing gyms, movies, D Acres, festivals, state fairs, etc)
  • Short nature walks, as distinct from hikes (Balch Hill, Mink Brook, Pine Park, etc. If in doubt, ask club advisor) - criteria: good cell coverage, very easy terrain, short distances, not more than .5 mile from road access.

General Leaders

General leaders can lead certain categories of simple trips.

  • Level 1/Basic trips as above
  • Beginner Hikes
  • Beginner snowshoe trips/winter hikes
  • Beginner XC ski trips
  • Flatwater paddling on the CT river

Beginner trips as above are defined as being low mileage (6 miles or less for spring-summer-fall hiking or XC skiing, 4 miles or less for snowshoeing or winter hiking); below tree-line; no more than 35 minutes driving from campus and no more than an hour's travel away from the trailhead.

To learn about becoming a General Leader, click here.