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Revamped Leadership Training program experiences hiccups in its first year

December 6, 2019

Courtesy of Mason Winter
Peaked Leadership Training participants were all smiles on Bigelow Mountain during an expedition over fall break. Some of the program’s participants are now facing the choice of staying in Maine after the second semester finishes or waiting until next year to complete their certification.

Following the overhaul of the Bowdoin Outing Club’s (BOC) Leadership Training (LT) program this fall, participants may have to finish their certification next fall due to lack of space on a trip taking place over spring break.

To complete LT, students are required to go on two separate expeditions, which are held over fall break, spring break and after the end of the spring semester.

Students were accepted into LT in three waves. The first group of participants was accepted prior to fall break, and some were able to go on the fall break expedition. The second and third groups, however, were accepted after fall break. So to complete LT before the end of the school year, these students have to go on both the winter and spring break trips. This has led to massive over enrollment in the outing planned for spring break—a skiing trip in Canada. 26 students requested a spot and only 14 participants, chosen at random, were given a spot in the trip.

Noa Schumman ’22 believes that the BOC has legitimate reasons for limiting the number of spots.

“[There are] 14 spots available because [BOC] wants to keep the cost down,” Schumann said. “It made sense. It’s a long drive [and] they will only have one van. And also it’s a backcountry skiing trip—you can’t really take more than 14 without people getting lost.”

The students who were not placed in the spring break trip may now have to attend an expedition after school finishes in May or finish their certification next fall.

Students who were not given a spot on the spring break trip expressed frustration at the prospect of having to stay after school finishes in order to be certified before next fall.

“I think now I’ll have to go on the trip after finals end in May, which I didn’t really want to do,” Mason Winter ’23 said.

“I want to go home. I have summer plans,” said Leif Maynard ’23. “I really wanted to finish LT this year, [but] now I’m struggling to see how that’s gonna happen.”

According to Schumann, the BOC needs to hire more staff, possibly someone to be in charge of the LT program, in order to make the changes students are requesting.

“The leaders of the BOC work so diligently and work so hard,” Schumann said. “But the three [directors] are spread too thin … I think having one director in charge of the leadership training program would be extremely beneficial for this program to make sure things are running smoothly.”

“I’ve heard just generally that the club is rather disorganized this year, in terms of transition to this new system,” Maynard noted.

Next Thursday, BOC will host a meeting with this year’s LT participants, the first time the program has met as a full group.

“I’m assuming they’re going to tell us an alternative option to spring break or another option for how you can complete LT this year without having all of the expedition requirements done,” Schumann said. “But I hope that they do address the issue.”

Editor’s Note, 12/6/19, 2:54 p.m.: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that over 40 students requested a spot on the spring break trip. The BOC actually received 26 requests. 

Editor’s Note, 12/6/19, 8:16 p.m.: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that LT participants could sign up for a trip during winter break. That trip is reserved for BOC Leadership Fellows, a program distinct from the LT program. 

Editor’s Note, 1/19/20, 10:05 pm: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Outing Club Director Mike Woodruff did not respond to comment.


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