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Instructor Development Program

StovesThe Instructor Development Program (IDP) is an opportunity open to all App State students, faculty, and staff memebers offered every year.

IDP focuses on providing outdoor education for anyone interested in working in outdoor recreation and education. IDP is a special program that includes: trip tainings and workshops to become an Outdoor Program's Trip Leader.

IDP is also Outdoor Program's professional development for current OP trip leaders.

Being an outdoor leader is more than being able to climb or paddle; it's a synergy of passion, training, and experience. IDP provides you the tools to pursue a life of adventure. Whether you want to be Outdoor Program's trip staff, work for camps, other adventure programs, or just to enhance your personal pursuits. IDP has something for everyone.

Instructor Development Program Curriculum

1. Foundations (4.5 hours): Take three required foundational workshops. These workshops meet for an hour and a half. These workshops have been developed to provide insight to the rich history and key philosophies important to understanding your role as an outdoor leader. Workshops teach how groups work together, how people learn, and the role of risk management in our programs. Workshops include: Introduction to IDP and History, Philosophy & Roles in Outdoor Education, and Risk Management in the Wilderness Setting.

2. Trip Training Participation (64 hours minimum): Complete a minimum of two Outdoor Program's training trip weekends. On these trips, you'll learn what Outdoor Programs is all about and see how Outdoor Program's trip staff work together.

Every IDP participant must partcipate in the following weekends: (A, and a choice of B, C, D, E). Partcipants are encourage to partcipate in all weekeneds. IDP participants must participate in the weekend trainings of the trips they wish to lead or instruct.

A. Group Interaction Course and Facilitation (Required)

B. White Water Rafting

C. Backpacking

D. Alpine Tower and High Ropes

E. Climbing, Kayaking, Stand Up Paddleboarding, and Caving will be provided as optional day trip trainings throughout the year.

3. Essentials Workshops (4 hours): These required workshops teach you the essential skills for becoming an outdoor leader. Workshops include: Outdoor Leadership, Leadership & Learning Styles, Trip Planning, and Decision Making and Judgment.

4. Certifications: The following certifications are required to work on Outdoor Programs trips: Wilderness First Aid (for Instructors), Wilderness First Responder (for Trip Leaders), N.C. Epinephrine Administration, CPR/AED (included in Wilderness First Responder), and App State Van Driver Approval. Dates for each of these training can be found here.

5. Apprentice/Check-off: After completing Foundations & Essentials workshops, participating in two Outdoor Programs trips weekends, and obtaining the minimum certifications, you'll be ready to apprentice some Outdoor Programs trips. Apprentices go on Outdoor Programs trips for free, and they are responsible for working with Outdoor Program's trip staff to plan trip logistics, manage safety, and teach outdoor skills to participants. Once you have built skills in the field participants will have the opportunity to complete an "Instructor check-off" session in the field, in which a current OP staff member will make sure you have all of the necessary skills to lead specific styles of trips.

After completion of a check-off, you will be asked to join the Outdoor Program's trip staff. 

This process takes a different for each IDP participant.

After Becoming Trip Staff

6. Trip Staff Extras Workshops (4 hours): Trips staff are required each semester to refresh your skills and receive updates and additional training. Topics vary each semester from navigation, skills, backcountry cooking, wilderness medicine refreshers, resume writing, and more.

7. Refresher Training: Each year staff must attend return staff training to lead trips. You can only lead trips that you train in each year. Refresher trainings occur over the first few weeks of the Fall semester. 

Bypassing the IDP Program

Some individuals may already have extensive experience, knowledge, and skills from working in the industry. In that case those may have the opportunity to bypass the IDP Program and become a trips staff member through the following process.

  • Provide a trip log proving evidence of 200 hours of technical skills and previous accredited trainings (skill specific: i.e. rock climbing)
  • Must adhere and attend to Foundations and Essentials workshops
  • Must adhere and attend apprenticing and check-off progression
  • **Recreation Management Majors: If you have already taken "Principles of Outdoor Experiential Education" you may fast track through the IDP Foundations workshops. This must be approved by your RM Professor and an OP Coordinator

We are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2020.

For questions regarding the Instructor Development Program email Bob Riddle at