The Natural Leaders Program
Kids ages 7 - 17 build leadership, survival skills and community for 5 hours weekly from September to June.
"Because others depend on them too" - a Natural Leaders parent testimonial
Find your program!
Zoom in on the map for a closer look, and click a marker to see the name of any program location that you're interested in.
Join the adventure: reserve your spot now!
This is a nature-based LEADERSHIP program! Students have a great time exploring and learning, while honing social and leadership skills each week.
Each week the students meet for the day (10am - 3pm, 5 hrs), with a highly qualified lead facilitator who supports them in assigning, planning and performing leadership roles.
Each student is expected to review the relevant online resources in the LEARN! section of this website, and then lead his or her role in the field. Leadership roles include:
A typical day features exploring, group games, story-telling and a skills challenge. See also the Coordinator page for more on this topic.
Technical skills we work on may include, but are not limited to:
It can take many years to master leadership and wilderness skills, so students are encouraged to attend long-term and grow through the program.
By attending for multiple years, students are able to develop proficiency in a wide suite of skills, and can then use the resulting confidence to tackle ambitious personal dreams and contribute to the world in a big way.
Is this just for homeschoolers?
Our program is open to anyone who can be reliably available on the scheduled program days! If your child is in school part-time we are happy for him or her to join, or reach out to us about creating a program near you on a day that he or she is available.
What gear do I need?
Check out our gear list!
Do I need all the items on the gear list for my first day?
The most important gear you will need on your first day is weather appropriate clothing and footwear. If you are unsure about other items, you can wait until you spend a day out in the field with your instructor to find out what will be most useful for you and your group.
What knife should I get my child?
We recommend and sell the Bahco 2444 Carpenter Mora Multi-Purpose Knife. See explanation here.
My child is younger than 7... Can they still participate?
6.5 year-old children going on 7 can be accommodated on a case-by-case basis depending on location, instructor, group size, average group age, etc.
Considerations for these students include:
Can my child attend half-day or every other week?
Due to the nature of our programs, our groups are out exploring! This means it is not possible to adjust for the logistics of recurring half-day attendance. Weekly attendance is an important piece of the curriculum. Irregular attendance or approaching days as a "drop-in" program is discouraged. More detailed registration terms can be found here.
How do the mixed-age groups work?
The natural world offers us the opportunity to hone our skills no matter our age. We work to scale content, skills, stories, projects, games, and topics to enable students of all skill levels to try new things, deepen their knowledge, and expand their practice of basic techniques. As older students grow confident in their abilities, they will be encouraged to take on greater leadership roles, share with newer/younger students, and challenge themselves to take their skills to the next level.
What training do your staff have?
Our talented instructors have a range of backgrounds in classroom instruction, backcountry experience, primitive skills, leadership development, naturalism, ecology, and more. Many work out in the field throughout the year and are familiar with the parks and region in which they work. They all are trained in First Aid/CPR and have completed background checks. To find out more about our staff you can checkout our staff bios.
Can parents join during the day? Do parents join on trial days?
Typically no. We invite parents who would like to check out our locations and get to know our instructors to arrive to class a little bit early on the first day so you can ask any relevant questions you have. Our instructors take time during pickup and drop off to discuss anything that's come up during the day with families and are available via email and phone after class time when necessary.
Join the adventure: reserve your spot now!
If you have a question you don't find listed here, reach out to us! firstname.lastname@example.org