This fall, the Bowdoin Outing Club (BOC) is amending the structure of its Leadership Training (LT) program to extend through the full year rather than a single semester, and to incorporate members of the former Out of the Zone (OZ) program into general LT programming.
Michael Woodruff ’87, the director of the Outing Club, said that two developments—institutional changes to class schedules—created a need for a new LT structure.
The OZ program was designed to integrate people of color, first-generation students, low-income students and other historically underrepresented members into the Outing Club organization and leadership. OZ was discontinued last year after the program had just three participants.
BOC directors Woodruff, Anna Bastidas and Tess Hamilton ’16 decided to eliminate OZ as an independent program, but the BOC is including those who would have been potential OZ participants into a revamped LT structure.
LT training trips will go out almost every weekend, and participants will have the ability to select which trips they go on. This is a departure from the previous structure, which mandated LT participants to attend every LT-specific trip over the course of a single semester. This denied participants the ability to choose trips based on their availability.
In order to graduate from the revised program, participants will need to meet a number of requirements, including attending two of three extended outdoor expeditions which will run during fall break, spring break and a week in May.
In an email to its members, the Outing Club also explained that the LT program can span multiple school years. If participants have not met all the requirements to graduate from the program come May, they can finish their work the following September.
Three teams of sixteen will be chosen for the program this year, with all applications due on either September 15, October 9 or October 25.
Although Woodruff acknowledged that the overhauled framework could detract from the close bonding semester-based LT provided, he emphasized that the new program allows more relationships to be forged.
Woodruff could not guarantee the new program’s permanency.
“Everything we do here [at the Outing Club] is experimental and experiential,” he said. “We’ve been tweaking this program for the last 27 years, and I don’t think we’re gonna stop,” he said.