The Venture Outdoor Leadership program began in the fall of 1971. A steering committee appointed by the Chancellor chose to send a pilot group from UNC Charlotte through the North Carolina Outward Bound School.
Fifteen UNC Charlotte students, faculty, and staff participated in a two-week wilderness experience, traveling into the Linville Gorge area and the Great Smokies. They learned skills in backpacking, rock climbing, map and compass reading, off-trail travel, first aid, and leadership. The pilot program was a success and the Division of Student Affairs developed the Venture program independent of Outward Bound, but intentionally maintaining Outward Bound philosophy and practice.
Since that time, Venture Outdoor Leadership has continued to grow and expand into a unique experiential learning program.
- Workshops, classes, and adventure trips explore whitewater kayaking and canoeing, rock climbing, caving, backpacking, sea kayaking, and rafting.
- Team Challenge Course and the High Team Challenge Course (i.e. low ropes and high ropes) serve campus and community groups.
- The Venture Outdoor Leadership Training and Group Experience (VOLTAGE) program hires and trains students to lead programs in all of our activity areas.
- An academic Minor in Outdoor Leadership was developed with the UNC Charlotte Department of Kinesiology.
- SOAR Outdoor, a five-day outdoor orientation program, offers incoming freshmen and transfer students an extended group experience opportunity.