Adventure Education at Messiah College
Travelers, wilderness enthusiasts, outfitters and youth ministers thrive in Messiah College’s Bachelor of Arts in adventure education degree program.
If you are interested in the great outdoors and are passionate about helping others achieve their personal best, then Messiah College’s adventure education program is for you. Adventure education uses adventure activities such as ropes course experiences, extended wilderness trips, rock climbing, caving, and canoeing as a catalyst for growth and development—both personally and with others.
In the adventure education major you’ll gain the theory, knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to successfully plan, implement, administer, and supervise educational experiences in the outdoor setting. Through classroom and field experience, you’ll be well-prepared for a job as an adventure educator.
Adventure education major distinctives
- Learn to design and lead adventure experiences, which facilitate interpersonal relationships, personal growth and group dynamics.
- Gain the theory, knowledge, skills and experience necessary to successfully plan, implement, administer and supervise educational experiences in the outdoor setting.
- Dig into courses ranging from wilderness encounters (a three-week trip) to canoeing, environmental issues, risk management and leadership facilitation.
- Earn nationally recognized certifications including Wilderness First Responder/SOLO and Leave no Trace.
- Pursue additional certifications such as American Mountain Guide Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instruction, American Canoe Association (ACA) Canoe Instructor, and Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) Level 1 Facilitator.
- Spend a semester with the internationally renowned National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), which offers the world’s most spectacular outdoor classrooms.
Career options for adventure education majors
As a graduate of the adventure education, students are equipped to secure jobs in areas such as:
- Adventure education programs
- Wilderness therapy programs
- Camp programming
- Youth ministry
- Adventure travel
- Commercial outfitters
- Outdoor education programs
- Graduate school
For more information on career planning for the Adventure Education, visit the Messiah College Career and Professional Development Center.
Internship and research opportunities for adventure education majors
Messiah’s nationally recognized internship program places students in a variety of adventure education internships. A few examples include:
- Kenbrook Camp
- Northbay Adventure
- Diakon (youth at-risk program)
- Spruce Lake Retreat Center
- Yellow Breeches Educational Center
- The Adventure Guild
- Woodcrest Retreat
Mission & goals
- The student will demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical and historical foundations of adventure education.
The student will demonstrate the ability to design, lead, and evaluate educational experiences for various audiences utilizing adventure activities.
- The student will demonstrate competency in a variety of adventure skills and will be able to instruct and lead others in these activities.
- The student will demonstrate an understanding of group dynamics and leadership styles in an adventure context.
- The student will understand the principles of risk and risk management in adventure education. The student will have the knowledge and skills to respond to unexpected events.
Certifications & Career Information
Careers in Adventure Education
These are some places our graduates have found employment:
- Adventure Specialist, Yellow Breeches Education Center
- Director of Adventure, Spooky Nook Sports
- Guide, Zion Adventures
- Tripping Director, Camp Henry
- PE Teacher and Director of Summer Programs, Delaware County Christian School
- Program Coordinator, Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
- Instructor, National Outdoor Leadership School
- Professional Climbing Instructors Association (PCIA)
- National Cave Rescue Commission
- Leave No Trace
- Wilderness Medicine
- Association for Challenge Course Technology
- American Canoe Association (ACA)
From classroom to adventure courses
Messiah College’s adventure education curriculum is designed to provide a strong balance between theoretical and practical knowledge. In the adventure education major, you will not only gain the competencies to safely lead others in adventure experiences; you will be well rooted in the theories and philosophies that shape the field of adventure education.
A distinct feature of Messiah’s adventure education is the opportunity to take a pair of courses—Programming and Trip Design, and Trip Implementation—where you’ll spend the fall semester designing a wilderness trip. In the spring semester, you’ll be part of a student team that will recruit other participants, lead weeklong spring break trips, and be responsible for all aspects of the experience.
You also have the option of spending a semester on a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course in the Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains or Desert Southwest.
Leadership and career preparation
Messiah College’s adventure education degree is a first-rate, firsthand experience that gets you ready for an exciting career in adventure education, alternative education, wilderness therapy, camp programming, youth ministry, adventure travel, commercial outfitting or outdoor education.
Our faculty make sure that beyond becoming an effective outdoor leader, you will be able to design educational and developmental experiences that move groups and individuals towards specific goals.