Adventure and Leadership Courses

The Shaver’s Creek Field Laboratory is Penn State’s home for courses in outdoor group management techniques, adventure leadership, and team-building skills. Shaver’s Creek faculty bring to these exciting and challenging classes their extensive experience in the fields of outdoor education and adventure recreation.

Shaver’s Creek is also home to AURORA, Penn State’s Outdoor Orientation Programs, which runs 5 of the nation’s premier first-year student orientation programs.

To see a list of all Shaver’s Creek classes, visit LionPath’s Search for Classes menu. Select “University Park” as the campus and “SHAVERS” as the Location. Shaver’s Creek classes will also show up if the Location field is blank (but they will NOT appear if the Location field is also set to “UNIVPARK”).

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KINES 089 — Student Wilderness Experience (ORION, POLARIS, VEGA)

3 credits

KINES 089 provides incoming first-year Penn State (UP) students with the opportunity to engage in a fun, challenging, outdoor experience prior to their first fall at college. Incoming students meet and make new friends, learn outdoor skills that focus on the “Leave No Trace” philosophy, and set goals for their first year at Penn State while enjoying five days of backpacking adventure in one of our scenic locations nationwide. (Visit the AURORA program page for more information.)

RPTM 230 — Team-Building Facilitation

3 credits; offered spring and fall semester

Learn to lead and facilitate group team-building activities. Other topics include leadership, group process, and group dynamics. This course counts toward the Intercollege Minor in Sustainability Leadership. (One of two spring sections is limited to SEED Semester students only.)

RPTM 297 — URSA Urban Service Experience

3 credits

URSA Urban Service Experience is a precollege community-building experience for incoming first-year Penn State (UP) students. The URSA program enables students to create friendships as they work together toward a common goal. Students spend the week in Philadelphia, learning more about the community through service projects in an urban environment. (Visit the URSA program page for more information.)

SOC 300 — Preceptorship in Sociology

1–8 credits, maximum of 4 per semester; offered spring and fall semester

Supervised experience as a teaching assistant for SOC 119 under the supervision of an approved faculty member. Prerequisite: SOC 119 and by application.

RPTM 330 — Adventure-Based Program Leadership

3 credits; offered spring semester

Both theoretical and experiential components are included as the role of the leader in adventure programs is examined. This course will focus on the philosophy, leadership techniques, ethics, and current practices in the area of adventure programming. Focus of instruction will be upon program design, developing skills for facilitating personal growth and providing leadership for outdoor pursuits.

A group of Penn State students stand around a bike

RPTM 397 — First Year Seminar (for AURORA participants)

1 credit; offered fall semester

This First Year Seminar is designed to introduce first year students who have participated in AURORA (ORION, URSA, VEGA, or POLARIS) to the academic and social culture of Penn State University. The objective of the class is to help you engage with academic, social, and personal resources available at Penn State and in the community and to facilitate your transition to college life. (limited to AURORA participants)

RPTM 440 — Adventure-Based Programming and Administration

3 credits; offered fall semester

This course is designed to equip students with a variety of outdoor program-planning methodologies and skills. Emphasis is on planning, organization, implementation, and evaluation of outdoor experiential education programs. Outdoor topics, theories, and systems will be explored to facilitate the administration of quality adventure-based programs.

SOC 469 — Techniques in Small Group Facilitation

1–4 credits per semester, maximum of 12; offered spring and fall semester

SOC 469 is an advanced training course for students who have been selected to be facilitators for the World in Conversations Project. In this course, students draw on sociological theories and methods to learn how to sharpen their group facilitation skills in order to lead small group dialogues on taboo subjects, such as race, gender, and deeply rooted cultural conflicts. The main objective is to learn how to create an ideologically neutral environment in which participants will think critically and speak candidly about their views and roles in these taboo subjects. All evaluations are accomplished through “live” observations of students actually facilitating dialogue. Prerequisite: In order to be considered for a position as facilitator with the World in Conversations Project, a student must successfully complete SOC 119 (Race and Ethnic Relations) and SOC 300 (Preceptorship in Sociology).

RPTM 497 — Canoeing Leadership

1 credit; offered spring and fall semester

Through classroom presentation, literature review, and practical experience, students will develop the basic skills for teaching, planning for, and leading tandem canoe trips in flat water and slow-moving water. Participants can develop a working knowledge of the history and philosophies of canoeing; an understanding of the basic equipment needs for canoeing; experience in ways to manage the inherent risks of the sport; and proficiency as to how and when to use many basic canoe strokes. Students can also learn how to develop a detailed float plan for a canoe trip, including physically and mentally preparing for the sport of canoeing — and gain a certificate of completion from the American Canoe Association for flat water canoeing and swift water rescue.

RPTM 498 — Wilderness First Responder (“Woofer”) Certification

3 credits

The Wilderness First Responder (WFR) curriculum uses the principles of long-term care, improvised resources, and varying environmental conditions as the framework for learning. This certification course meets DOT National Standards for First Responder with additional protocols for extended-care situations. Upon successful completion, students receive a SOLO Wilderness First Responder card and an American Heart Association Adult Heartsaver CPR card, or equivalent. (Call 814-863-2000 for dates.)

RPTM 498 — Backpacking Leadership

2 credits; offered spring semester

This course will introduce students to backpacking leadership skills, including pre-trip planning; selection, use, and care of equipment; and backcountry travel techniques. Participants will also learn about the value of leadership, teamwork, and communication; human impacts on the environment; and development of a personal connection to the environment. Students will have an opportunity to practice leadership skills and to plan and lead a two-day backpacking trip. 

RPTM 498 — Rock Climbing Leadership

3 credits; offered fall semester

This course will help students develop a working knowledge of the history and philosophies of rock climbing; the foundations of physically and mentally preparing for the sport of climbing; the basic equipment needs for climbing in an indoor setting; ways to manage the inherent risks of the sport; how and when to use and teach many basic climbing techniques; AMGA standard practices for climbing in a gym setting; and the current trends in climbing as a sport. Students will earn an American Mountain Guiding Association (AMGA) Climbing Wall Instructor Certification. 

A KINES student climbs a cliff wall

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