OLP solo trip

that focuses on the non-cognitive skill of autonomy.

Developing autonomy during an OLP solo activity

A solitary activity or autonomous student experience (ASE) serves as the final execution of the non-cognitive skill set. The ASE trip participants benefit from a highly structured and purposefully crafted trip and a pre and post activity discussion. The preparation and then action for a student to hike to a peak, mountain lake, or a multi-day backpacking trip serves as the culminating application of outdoor skills and non-cognitive skills. Each OLP trip contains a level of difficulty that challenges the students to find success. This lesson is structured in two parts: steps towards understanding and points for discussion.

Steps Towards Understanding

Introduction to OLP Autonomy

The right amount of risk, challenge, safety and communication develops the whole person.

This lesson will be a supportive guide to the presented leadership skills with an emphasis on developing a student’s autonomy during a solo trip experience.  This activity creates situations for participants to face challenges, to make authentic decisions, actively pursue individual and holistic choices that also allows them to be responsible for their actions.  During the solo trip, students are mindful of their purpose of the experience. Participants will use self-reporting activities that document their thoughts. Student’s will also engage in a pre and post trip discussion (Danile, Bobilya, Kalisch, McAvoy, 2014). The information, links and additional materials below may be organized or omitted for the best results depending on the needs of the teacher.

Notes for OLP instructors

  • Minimizing instructor involvement during the final expedition increases self-reliance and self-awareness by encouraging greater self-reliance, responsibility, and intrinsic motivation (Bobilya, Kalisch, & Daniel, 2013).
  • Take steps to allow the participant to complete the required tasks without instructor involvement (Bobilya et al., 2013)
  • The two primary elements of the NOLS model are the instructors’: (a) preparation of students for the experience and (b) supervision during the experience.
  • Instructors supervising ASE must maintain a delicate balance between supervision, independence and safety.

Questions for Discussion

A balance of risk and safety is important.

What is autonomy? How have you overcome or succumbed to failures, challenges and shifting perceptions to find success and happiness?

Video Link to: Discovering the cheese doodle


Why is this person traveling by himself?

What is the longest period you have been responsible for every decision and consequence? Did you enjoy this period or was it stressful?

Preparing for a solo trip

What do you think you will be excited about during your trip?

Self-reliance is a cross over skill to  create a successful person.
Self-reliance is a cross over skill to create a successful person.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge?

How will this trip alter your self-reliance or your self-perceptions?

Why do you think this is true?

Link to the: Touching the void

Can you describe the autonomy of the two characters?

What traits did they both have that let them continue to go on?

Link to: Free solo rock climbing

Write in your journal discussing the reason Steph Davis free solo climbs.

What do you think she does, mentally and physically to prepare?

Have you ever experienced this emotion?

A ship in harbor is safe –but that is not what ships are built for.
~John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928

 Click here to download autonomy lesson plan PDF