Becoming a Leader

Home / Leadership / Becoming a Leader

Becoming a Leader

SUOC Leaderships

Once you become familiar with an activity, you should consider becoming a leader! Apart from being completely dependent on having leaders available to take out trips, we need leaders amongst us to pass down all manner of skills and knowledge through successive generations of SUOC’ers.

Any member of SUOC can become a leader, 

  • Any member of SUOC can become a leader.
  • There are no obligations – though we highly encourage it, no one is required to become a leader. In addition, people are not required to take out trips once they become leaders.
  • Once you become a leader, you can borrow gear from the E-Room whenever you like, free of charge! In exchange, all we ask is that you regularly give back to the club in some way, either through taking out beginner level trips or some other form of service.


While on trips, take an active role by asking the leader to teach you important skills and by assisting him or her in running the trip and teaching skills to others – they will appreciate the help! This is probably one of the most important parts of leadership as there’s no surer way to become a better leader than to learn by doing.

Outside of trips, you can also learn and practice many skills without leaving the E-Room; simply talk with a leader and arrange a time they can instruct you, or attend the various informal clinics that our leaders teach for those interested. Get to know our leaders; they have a wealth of knowledge that in many cases was passed on to them from a previous SUOC leader, and would be happy to extend that same benefit to you.

We also have an extensive library of print and visual media in the E-Room, all of which are excellent reference material. Flip through some of the stuff if you have some time during regular E-Room hours or borrow them to use on your own.


First Aid & CPR:

All active leaders are required to have current certifications in First Aid & CPR. If you need to get these certifications, talk with our First Aid Chair about taking short certification course – which the club may even help you pay for! We are usually able to schedule a course for interested members each semester. These are contingent upon interest, so make sure to let the First Aid Chair know if you’d like to get certified. Once you get the certifications, present them to the First Aid Chair so we can make a record of it.

Leadership Requirements:

The leadership requirements for each activity are maintained by the Leadership and Activity Chairs and can be found in the menus on the left side of this page, or at the E-room. All of the various requirements are meant to insure that leaders are capable in three general skill sets:

  • Effective management and leadership of groups of people in outdoor settings, especially beginners who have little or no experience.
  • Sufficient mastery of essential skills & techniques, familiarity with equipment, understanding of the risks involved and how to reduce risks, and ability to deal with common problem situations.
  • Effective instruction of skills and knowledge to others (beginners and prospective leaders alike).

Review the requirements for the leadership you are interested in so that you understand what you should be familiar with; if you have any questions, talk with a current leader in the activity.


The final hurdle in becoming a leader is to run a trip from start to finish under the supervision of a current leader in the activity who acts as a ghost-leader. As a prospective leader you are expected to fill the role of the primary leader of the trip, as will be the case once you are leading your own trips.

You can find a list of current leaders here.

The ghost-leader’s primary role is to observe the trip to make sure that you are able use good judgment to act effectively as leader of the trip along the general guidelines mentioned previously, NOT to co-lead the trip with you. Think of them as a person who is knowledgeable, but not a leader – you can certainly ask them to assist you, but don’t expect them to take charge of the trip. Being ghost-led is ultimately the final test of whether you are ready to lead trips on your own; by the time you start seeking to be ghost-led, you should already have the skills and experiences you’ll need to be a competent leader of your own trips!

If you run a successful trip, your ghost-leader may agree to vouch for you by signing your leadership form. It is important to note that they are not obligated to give you their signature of approval; if your leadership of a trip is a bit lacking, you might not get their approval for that trip. If this is the case, make sure to meet with them after the trip to go over how things went, and ask them to help you improve!

A few important points:

  • You can get a leadership form from the E-Room or the Leadership Chair.
  • To get your very first leadership (regardless of activity), you need three signatures; two from separate trips and separate leaders in that activity, and one final signature from the Leadership Chair.
  • Aside from your first leadership, some leaderships require only two signatures (one from your ghost-leader in that activity, one from the Leadership Chair), while other more advanced leaderships require three signatures (two from separate trips and separate ghost-leaders in that activity, one from the Leadership Chair).
  • Leaders who graduate (or who were never students in the first place) can still lead trips if they fill out the four forms required for volunteer coaches and submit them to Recreation Services. These are those forms: Sport Clubs Application Background Check Release Form Club Coaches Agreement NYS Correction Law Article 23