Each student will be responsible for leading a portion of each training outtrip (this could be a few hours or multiple days). This gives students an environment to learn how to lead others with the capacity and allowance of making mistakes. Instructors take a 'back seat' approach and assist each student in their personal leadership growth.
First Aid/Emergency Simulations:
Throughout COLTS training, instructors will conduct a variety of first aid and emergency simulations to give students practice handling various situations. Each situation is followed by a group and personalized debrief to aid in the students learning. Risk management, group management, decision making, and wilderness first aid techniques are emphasized during simulations.
At the completion of COLTS training, each student goes on a one-night solo where they put their learned skills to practice without supervision. This includes navigation, travel to a certain location, camp set-up, and more. The solo is intended to give students time to reflect, and prove to themselves they now have the ability to use the wilderness unassisted.
The final exam consists of written and practical portions. The written portion focuses on factual information learned during the training as well as situational questions. It is in short answer format. The practical portion changes depending on needs of the group and individuals. It can consist of simple campcraft testing (tarp set up, bear line set up, fire making), and/or First Aid simulations that test the decision making and judgment of the student.
Certificate-based courses are integrated into COLTS from other organizations (Outdoor Council of Canada, Leave No Trace, Paddle Canada, CNP Bear Smart, etc.). These course include practical examination.
Periodically throughout the program, each student will be given 30-45 minutes to lead the rest of the group in a Bible or book study. Passages and books will vary each year.
Route-planning Assignment (4 hours):
This is an assignment that uses all three of the students’ supplied topographical maps to get them to practice route finding and map familiarization. Using their maps and route-planning resources, they will decide which route to take between map coordinates, how to calculate elevation, decide which routes are preferable to others, estimate hiking distances/times/elevations, etc.
Equipment and Gear Research (6 hours):
Students will be asked to research a certain type of outdoor gear that we use in our outdoor pursuits. This could include, boots, backpacks, sleeping bags, stoves, etc. Once completed, each student will give a presentation to the rest of the group and some local folk to teach them about what they have learned. This assignment is to help students research and present ideas to others, while doing a deep-dive into a category of outdoor gear.
Leadership Assignment (6 hours):
This assignment will get students to analyze themselves as leaders. They will see what kind of leaders they are and what kind of leaders they would like to be. This assignment can be used for future reference too. Students are asked to reflect on different situations or experiences in their lives that has shaped them to be the leaders that they are. They are also asked to look to the future and see what kind of leader they would like to be. This assignment allows them to document their progression in their leadership development, and gives them an idea of leadership aspects they need to work on.
Outtrip Programming Assignment (3 hours):
In this assignment, students will be programming a typical thee-day outtrip. It is meant to take them through all the steps of programming on outtrip. This outtrip plan could be used for future reference. A summarized form of this assignment will be required for every outtrip that students lead.
Individual Project (6-10 hours):
This project is to be completed by the end of COLTS training. This way it is finished before summer sessions begin. It should be something that would enhance Outtrip Directing in some way and would help with the development of outdoor programs. Students are given ideas of projects that could be done, but are also given the freedom to come up with their own idea.
Individual Evaluations (On-going):
The instructors of the program see the value in working directly and intentionally with each participant; the instructor to student ratio is usually 1:2 or 1:1. They take a coaching style approach to leadership, and will be intentional in the development of each participant's skills and competence by recognizing the needs for their learning accordingly. All camp staff receive ongoing feedback with respect to performance, while the COLTS participants receive consistent feedback in regards to leadership development.