Skip to main content

First-Year Trips

For Current Students

Connect with First-Year Trips


Being a Leader

leadersWhat is a Trip Leader?

Being a Trip Leader is what many Dartmouth students call one of the greatest and most rewarding experiences of their college career. First and foremost, a Trip Leader is an ambassador for 6-10 first-year students. Leaders help first-year students feel comfortable and welcome in this new environment and are a resource for them, both on the Trip and throughout the school year. Trip Leaders are really important as they are the Trippees’ first impression of the Dartmouth community.There would be no First-Year Trips without you!

What Does a Trip Leader Do?

Trip Leaders are responsible for leading first-years through their trips. They are the individuals entrusted with making sure that the trip itself is both fun and safe. They know the route, basic wilderness survival skills, risk assessment, and are responsible for building community (we will train you for all of these!).

What Do We Look for in a Trip Leader?leaders

Despite common myths, Trip Leaders are NOT chosen merely on their outdoor experience. In fact, many of the best Trip Leaders have had little to no experience in the outdoors. Trip Leader applications are graded based on hard skills (medical certification, experience in the outdoors, etc), soft skills (ability to relate to others and create group cohesion), and overall desire to give back to the incoming class. A good Trip Leader has their strengths and their weaknesses and need not have all the aforementioned qualities to be selected.

How Are the Applications Graded?

The applications will be read by previous Trips veterans, Directorate members, and Trip Leader Trainers who have undergone specific training in reading applications. The graders will read applications and assign each a numerical value based on predetermined qualities. Each application will be read by more than one grader, and these grades will be used to determine if and where a Trip Leader will be assigned.

Applications are graded BLIND. This means that a person’s name, year, hometown, gender, contact information, major, identity, physical limitations, and dietary restrictions will not be available for the graders to see. This is done to assure that each applicant is given equal opportunity without bias of any graders who may know the applicant.

More information on the application process can be found on the application itself.


What Does the Leader Training Involve?

Our excellent Leader Training Program consists of three distinct sessions (and the “All-In-One” session covers all three together!). In addition, each Trip Leader must be First Aid and CPR certificated for the duration of his/her trip (check out Dartmouth EMS for more information on dates and times for classes).

  • Risk Management: You will learn everything you’ll need to know to lead your group of trippees safely from the beginning to the end of your Trip. Topics may include, but are not limited to: allergic reactions, LNT (leave no trace), hypothermia, Vox (what DO they do anyways?), lightning, First Aid (quick overview), pandas (how are they so damn cute?!?), etc.
  • Community Building: We will help you find your place as a leader and connect with other upperclassmen. We'll think about how to build community and relationships both with your co-leader and trippees in a meaningful, lasting way. Together we'll find creative ways to enhance your trip while you are on the trail to make it fun, comfortable and meaningful for your trippees, your co-leader and yourself. Then we give you a quick rundown of the Trips experience — from Gilman Island to the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge!
  • Wilderness Skills: You’ll learn the basic “hard” wilderness skills you’ll need during your trip. This session will be mostly outside and on the move, so please wear appropriate footwear.
  • All-In-One Session: This day-long (fun!) session gives you the opportunity to experience all three sessions consecutively.

Last Updated: 12/11/19