MCST Outdoor Leadership Program enters its second year and welcomes new 1st year students. After a few days of basic safety training and getting all the various forms and waivers filled out, the OLP headed outside and onto the water! By the end of the first week of October, 1st year students were well on their way to being accomplished tandem canoeists and future canoe trip leaders. After a brief tandem refresher from last year’s canoe school, 2nd year students were taking the lead on trips and were able to advance to the traditional art of solo paddling. On the days when the wind was blowing too hard for a paddle, we took to area trails and mountains to work on navigation and hiking skills. Mid-October was spent learning the basics of rock climbing in Camden Hills. OLP students will have the chance to put these new skills to use as part of the newly formed Coastal Mountains Search and Rescue Team. They will be junior members of this high-angle rescue team when they complete the basic certification as ground searchers later this school year. Up next, we will be working into mid-November with Georges River Valley Land Trust completing trail projects around the area including the new round-the-mountain trail at Ragged. We will finish out the calendar year on wilderness first aid, map and compass, bushcraft, winter skills and so much more!Different from outdoor education classes, the Outdoor Leadership Program at MCST is a mentally rigorous and physically demanding technical training program where students leaders can earn many professional industry certifications including SOLO Wilderness First Aid, Advanced Wilderness First Aid, Leave No Trace Trainer, Maine Association for Search and Rescue Basic Ground Search Team Member, and Registered Maine Guide.