Student leaders comprise the backbone of the SOP. All trips are student led. There are over 75 student leaders in Sewanee. Students become SOP trip leaders by going on SOP trips, apprentice leading on trips and getting Wilderness Advanced First Aid training (WAFA). Students who wish to become leaders learn where we lead trips, what our protocol is and how to lead trips safely. Being a trip leader takes a great deal of responsibility and is a terrific way to share your interests with someone else. Since the SOP is not a club it is a great way to meet other students.
Steps to becoming an SOP leader:
- Go on SOP trips
(By going on SOP trips you learn by our example.)
- Ask a current SOP leader if you can co-lead a trip with them
(Learning by doing is one of the best ways to put your skills to practice).
- Get WAFA certified
(All PRE-Orientation staff are given WAFA training. This is the best way to become an SOP trip leader or just further your skills. Each August the SOP hires outside consultants (Wilderness Medical Associates) to certify 40 Sewanee students. The WAFA certification is good for 3 years and the costs of this certification, lodging and food is paid by the SOP.)
- Become a part of PRE staff
(During PRE staff training and PRE Staff Orientation, students learn how to introduce other students to the outdoors.)
Each activity of the SOP has a Student Director (Caving, Climbing, Hiking/Backpacking, Cycling, Canoeing/Kayaking). Student Directors are appointed by the Director of the SOP from the outstanding leaders. Candidates for Student Directors are particularly involved leaders who exhibit a knowledge and interest in their activity that is above others. New leaders are selected each year during the Spring semester.