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How to Become a Leader

So, you'd like to become a DOC Leader and be a part of the rich history and tradition of the Dartmouth Outing Club?!? Keep in mind there are somewhat separate processes for becoming a leader in the regular DOC and for the DOC's First-Year Trips program. Normally, your first step should be getting involved in one of the DOC member clubs. Each of them has an officer whose role is to assist new members in their training to become a new leader. If that's not your cup of tea, you can become a General Leader to lead low-key trips for the DOC as a whole.


Leader Training

All trips and activities in the Dartmouth Outing Club are planned, organized, and led by Dartmouth students. In order to ensure that DOC leaders are capable of dealing with the many unpredictable situations which may occur on an outdoor trip, the Club requires that all members become proficient in appropriate skills before leading trips.

Driver Certification

While not required for becoming a leader, it is highly recommended and extremely useful. For information, check out this page on how to become Dartmouth College Driver Approved.

DOC Leader Requirements

Every leader in the Dartmouth Outing Club must complete the following five requirements: First Aid and CPR, Risk Management, Group Dynamics, Outdoor Skills, and Logistics. These requirements do not have to be satisfied in any particular order.
Each member club has its own leadership program which fulfills the Outdoor Skills, and Logistics parts of the DOC Leader Requirements, and also have other requirements necessary in addition to the the DOC Leader Requirements before their leaders can lead trips in those clubs. For others, a separate course will be held. 

First Aid and CPR

Every DOC leader must have current First Aid and CPR certification. Wilderness First Aid training is preferred, although other certifications will be accepted.
SOLO Wilderness First Aid and CPR classes are offered at least once per term at Dartmouth. Red Cross First Aid and CPR classes may also be offered (not a Wilderness First Aid class). There is a fee for these classes, but some financial assistance may be available from the DOC (if you are involved in a member club, ask the club leaders for assistance — otherwise contact the DOC President). Other First Aid and CPR certifications (or First Responder/EMT certifications, of course) may be accepted with approval from the DOC Safety Director.

Risk Management

The Risk Management class teaches the assessment and minimization of risk in the outdoors, and how to respond to emergency situations.
The Risk Management class is offered once per term by the DOC, or more often if there is sufficient interest.

Group Dynamics

The Group Dynamics class teaches the skills involved in leading groups of people in the outdoors. The class covers integrating friends and strangers into a single group, handling problem individuals and situations, switching between leadership styles, and other skills and techniques useful for creating a fun safe trip.
The Group Dynamics class is offered once per term by the DOC, or more often if there is sufficient interest.

Outdoor Skills

The Outdoor Skills class teaches the basic survival skills needed in the modern outdoors. This requirement covers the selection of personal gear, gear available from the DOC rental shop, food planning, packing for a trip, map and compass reading, setting up a tarp shelter, and use of stoves from the DOC rental shop. It also includes whatever disciplinary knowledge is required of a leader in a specific club.

The outdoor skills requirement is typically fulfilled through trainings and co-leads offered by the various clubs during each term, but separate courses may be offered as needed. Contact the DOC for information. 


The Logistics requirement covers the procedures for using College resources available for DOC trips. This requirement involves learning to reserve vehicles and cabins, rent gear from the DOC rental shop, use a College purchasing card to buy food for trips, and introduces leaders to the structure of the DOC clubs and their leaders and the staff in the Outdoor Programs Office.

The logistics requirement is typically fulfilled through working with an existing leader on the co-leads required by each club, but separate courses may be offered as needed. Contact the DOC for information.


For more specific information on how each club trains and selects its leaders, visit The DOC Wiki.

Last Updated: 1/29/19