Every year, schools, colleges, and universities take educational trips into the woods and waters of Maine. Although some of these trips are led by Registered Maine Guides, many of them are led by students, faculty, and outing club advisors that have undergone extensive training in wilderness safety skills and expeditions.
Effective October 1, 2022, trip leaders taking students on overnight camping trips to campsites without potable water, or on any waterway in the state of Maine are required under Maine Law to either have a Maine Guide license or the new Educational Trip Leader permit. To provide a path for educators and educational institutions to be in compliance with statute, the Educational Trip Leader (ETL) Permit was established through the 129th Legislature.
Washington County Community College saw a need and decided to begin offering an Educational Trip Leader Training Program this spring through its Outdoor Leadership program. Participants will gain knowledge, skills, and certifications to meet the Educational Trip Leader Permit requirements that have recently been enacted by the Maine State Legislature.
In addition, participants will have the opportunity to receive the following credentials: a Leave No Trace Awareness Certificate, a Wilderness First Aid Certification, and American Canoe Association Canoe or Kayak Instructor Certification. The training allows participants to satisfy part of a new Outdoor Education certificate program to be offered in the fall, with a pathway to achieving an associate degree in Outdoor Leadership if they wish to pursue further education.
In order to apply for the certification, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, be affiliated with a primary, secondary, or postsecondary school, have successfully completed the ETL training and testing, and hold a valid and updated Wilderness First Aid (WFA), or greater, and CPR certification.
The program will allow participants to customize their training by taking only the components they need to become certified in Maine. Course options include Hybrid ETL Training, with 8 hours online and 8 hours in person, and Wilderness First Aid Training with 16 hours of live instruction. Those who plan to lead canoe or sea kayak trips with their students may also participate in instructor certification courses.
The first 48 participants will be offered camping and/or lodging for overnight courses at no cost through the Maine Jobs and Recovery program, the Harold Alfond Center, and the Harold Alfond Center for the Advancement of Maine’s Workforce.
For more information on how to apply, visit https://www.wccc.me.edu/professional-development/educational-trip-leader/