Our mission in HATS is to grow relationships, communication, and leadership through an adventure with our dads.  Nothing epitomizes our commitment and fulfillment of our mission than our Wilderness Leadership Academy (WLA) program.   We have heard from many of the dads who have completed the program that our Wilderness Leadership Academy (WLA) training is better than the leadership training they have received in their professional corporate and business careers.   What does it take to earn a WLA certificate?

  1. Wilderness Leadership Academy (WLA) is available for any HATS Dad, daughter, son team who is moving into the 8th grade or older.
  2. It is a core principle of the Wilderness Leadership Academy (WLA) that we strive for EXCELLENCE, not PERFECTION!
  3. Each Dad, Daughter, Son team must attend 2 weekend campouts dedicated to WLA training. The first is scheduled in late-Summer (really hot) and the second is scheduled in January really cold).   These seasons were selected to demonstrate that leaders lead courageously regardless of the circumstances you are in.   WLA classes work through hot weekends and cold weekends with positive attitudes and delivering with excellence!
  4. On each campout each student:
    1. Students receive 6 to 8 assignments that include speeches on leadership principles, mission, non-negotiables, and leadership principles.
    2. Students learn and manage 4 to 6 different games that we run on our adventures, learning how to set-up, execute, and debrief them. We emphasize teamwork between the Dad, daughter, son teams to collaborate in these exercises.
    3. After each assignment the students are given feedback on their public speaking, knowledge of the topic, management of the group, and their game execution and debriefs.
    4. Dad, daughter, and son teams also participate in seminars on Thinking Things Through, Safety, Name Game, Personality Assessments, Leadership Style Assessments, and more.
  5. Dad, daughter, and son teams must complete the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) campout offered twice a year. This weekend campout includes basic first aid, CPR certification, AED certification, and a heavy emphasis on situational awareness of how to handle medical emergencies.
  6. Dad, daughter, and son teams must mentor at least two where they are assigned higher level leadership responsibilities by the director to put into practice everything, they learned in WLA and WFA.
  7. Dad, daughter, and son teams must contribute to at least one HATS recruiting effort.

Once fulfilled, WLA graduate teams can mentor any HATS campout, where they can enjoy additional weekend adventures together, while gaining valuable leadership practical experience for the future.   All WLA graduates are issued a formal Wilderness Leadership Academy certificate upon entering the 9th grade so they can be listed in college applications.   It is very common for HATS students to use their Wilderness Leadership Academy training and experiences as topics in college essays.

Grade Level Mentoring (all grades eligible)

Any team that has completed a campout can come back and mentor as a ‘Grade Level Mentor’.

  1. Receives their ‘red hat’
  2. Participates in Mentor Leadership meetings
  3. Given non-speaking, non-leadership responsibilities for the campout
  4. Expected to Model The Way in Leadership

Wilderness Leadership Academy

Students are required to complete their 7th grade school year to be eligible to attend WLA.
It is recommended that students serve as a grade level mentor before signing up for WLA.
Attend first WLA Weekend (Fall WLA campout or Spring WLA campout). Typically the Fall campoout is taken first, but is not required to go in that order.
After completing the first WLA weekend, students must mentor a HATS campout, this is to gain practical experience as a WLA leader.
Attend second WLA Weekend (Fall WLA campout or Spring WLA campout).
After completing the second WLA weekend, students must mentor a HATS campout, this is to gain practical experience as a WLA leader.
Once Students have attended both WLA sessions and have mentored at least one campouts following each of those two WLA sessions, they are elibile to receive their WLA pin.
Attend and complete the Wilderness First Aid campout and receive your WLA pin
Complete one recruting activity after starting the WLA program. White hats are awarded once your first recruiting activity is completed.
Once both WLA campouts are completed, Mentoring following each WLA campout is completed, WFA is completed, and a recruiting event has been completed, students are WLA Graduates. WLA graduates are given high profile, member facing, leadership roles throughout the adventure weekend, practicing all Leadership Principles and Leadership Traits.

Once WLA graduates enter 9th grade, they will receive their WLA certificates, so they can be used in their college resumes.

  1. WLA graduates may mentor any campout.

If a team wants to continue to the progression as leaders, they can do so as Camp Directors. The requirements for Camp Director and Senior Director are:

Camp Director:
These are the minimum requirements to become a Co-Director:

  1. Must be a WLA Graduate
  2. Must have mentored at least one (preferably more) campouts as WLA mentors.
  3. Attend and complete Camp Director Academy (CDA)
  4. Once a team has completed CDA, they are eligible to be co-directors.

Senior Director

These are the minimum requirements to be eligible for Senior Director promotion. Promotions to Senior Director are made by the Director of Operations.

  1. Must have completed all WLA requirements.
  2. Must have mentored moltiple campouts as WLA mentors with excellence.
  3. Strongly exhibits and embodies HATS Leadership Principles and Leadership Traits in trying situations
  4. Must have completed Camp Director Academy with excellence.
  5. Must have served as co-director on moltiple campouts with excellence
  6. Must be actively engaged in all aspects of the HATS program (recruiting, fundraisers, HATS Lite, etc.)
  7. Senior Director students are awarded $600 per campout in college scholarship tuition with a maximum of 2 campouts per semester.