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WTA Kicks Off 2016 with Launch of Snowshoe Training

Shea Morrissey

WTA's Chandrika Francis (kneeling) and participants from the first OLT Snowshoeing Workshop in January. Photo by Andrew Pringle

WTA's Chandrika Francis (kneeling) and participants from the first OLT Snowshoeing Workshop in January. Photo by Andrew Pringle

Originally published by Washington Trails Association

By pairing experiential workshops with access to a free gear library and mini-grants, WTA's Outdoor Leadership Training program supported more than 1,000 outdoor youth experiences on 45 trips in 2015.

The program's approach aims to fills in resource gaps for teachers and youth group leaders who want to lead incredible youth experiences in nature. This year, WTA has expanded the mix to support snowshoeing and backpacking.

When planning to lead youth outside, a test run is key

Last week, the first snowshoeing workshop kicked off on a wintry day at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park. Educators, ambassadors and program coordinators from Mount Rainier High School, YMCAOneWorld Now!Latino Outdoors, and Bastyr University joined WTA staff for the fun-filled day of learning and exchange. As snowflakes fell, participants learned what they'd need to know to plan their own independent snowshoeing trips for youth groups and families.

When asked what they found most useful about the brand new workshop, one participant reflected:

"It was experiential -- being out in the elements and actually doing a test run of the kinds of situations we could come across with our groups."

Huge thanks to ColumbiaMSRLEKI and KEEN for making it possible through generous gear sponsorship!

The new workshops will be in addition to the hiking and camping workshops already offered. Below are two new upcoming workshop dates to mark on your calendar. Be sure to register before they're full!

Backpacking Workshop
When: Friday-Sunday, July 8-10
What: A 3-day entry-level course that covers leading a backpacking experience with a youth group. ($60, scholarships available)
Where: North Cascades National Park
Register to join

Visit the Outdoor Leadership Training FAQ to learn more about what the OLT program does and how you can participate.