Outdoor Leadership Academy

Outdoor Leadership Program in idaho

Sun Valley Community School’s Outdoor Leadership Academy is a three- or four-year program for Upper School students that empowers students to fuel their outdoor passions, become environmental stewards, and gain outdoor experience and certifications, while developing risk management and leadership skills in dynamic situations transferable to any setting.

Though intensive, the program allows students to fulfill OLA-required coursework and trip requirements while also focusing adequate time and energy on academics and other interests.


A group of instructors and students on a mountain covered in snow
OLA members Eliza '19 and Ellie '20 helped to lead the first-grade winter outdoor trip as part of their leadership training

Outdoor Leadership Academy Specialty Areas

OLA Curriculum

A student kayaking in white water
I am extremely grateful and appreciative to be able to participate in the Outdoor Leadership Academy. The program allows for students to become further involved and educated in the outdoors and plays a huge part in defining our school's mission.

Addie '19

Outdoor Leadership Academy Objectives

  • To inspire ethical, responsible, and joyous 21st-century citizens whose leadership will make a difference in the world;
  • To offer experiential, collaborative, reflective, and place-based opportunities for authentic leadership to complement and extend the school’s core values;
  • To develop a lifelong relationship with our natural environment, a deep appreciation for its purpose and value, and a motivation to protect and advocate for it;
  • To provide experiences that help students develop essential life skills, including:
    • Preparation and organization
    • Responsibility for oneself and others
    • Resilience and perseverance
    • Ability to motivate others
    • Critical problem solving skills
    • Integrity 
    • Face to face communication
    • To provide experiences that help students develop a lifelong relationship with wilderness environments and a deep appreciation for natural beauty;
    • To provide experiences that help students experience meaningful personal growth;
  • To develop the skills, certifications, and experience necessary to work professionally in the outdoor industry, and safely navigate diverse situations in the outdoor environment;
  • To help students experience meaningful personal growth.