Outdoor Recreation is a fast-growing and popular field in the U.S. and around the world. For more than a century, the number of people who participate in outdoor recreation and who seek an outdoor experience has steadily increased, as has the number of agencies (private, public, governmental, and nonprofit) offering outdoor recreation programs. This trend is projected to continue in the future. The field of outdoor recreation has developed over this period of time, providing outdoor recreational professionals a body of knowledge, leadership, proper planning, certifications, and respect for the environment through a display of outdoor ethics.
The Outdoor Recreation degree program is designed to provide you with a strong foundation in the liberal arts and sciences. You will also develop a foundation of camp, outdoor education, and outdoor recreation leadership skills and knowledge required to be an effective and competent outdoor leader and outdoor educator. Once you complete this program, you will be prepared for transfer to an outdoor-related baccalaureate degree program, and to work effectively and safely in the field.
Field experience is an exciting and important component of the outdoor recreation program. Beginning with your first year, you will be participating in a team challenge course, and will be encouraged to take several outdoor activity skill classes. As you progress through the program, additional leadership, programming, and outdoor field experiences will be a vital aspect of your study. You also will be given opportunities to plan and lead outdoor experiences for agencies in your community.
Through the College's partnership with the Inclusive Recreation Resource Center, students in Outdoor Recreation will also have the opportunity to receive certification as a “Certified Inclusivity Assessor (CIA)” through the NYS-IRRC.
While the curriculum of this program is designed primarily for transfer to a bachelor’s degree program, it provides skills directly applicable to entry-level positions in the outdoor recreation field. Students in this major also pursued jobs such as Camp Director, Outdoor Guide, Outdoor Educator, Park Ranger, High Ropes Coordinator, and Nature Center Staff.
Learn more about related jobs:
When I was completing my undergraduate degrees in Recreation, Outdoor Management, and Leisure Commercial Management at Lock Haven University, I stumbled across a sign while rock climbing during spring break at Seneca Rocks in WV. It read, “Here ends the Realm of the Hiker...” As an Outdoor Educator and Associate Professor, I heed the message from this sign as I help people overcome their own challenges to experience something greater or more intense in the field of Recreation and Leisure Studies.
PATTY TVAROHA, MAAE
Associate Professor, Human Services
Patty Tvaroha is a proud alumnus of Tompkins Cortland’s Human Services program. After graduating from Tompkins Cortland in 1998, Patty transferred to SUNY Cortland to become the first student to complete the two plus two articulation agreement and earn a BS in Human Services.
Outdoor recreation leaders who have earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree are more likely to be offered higher-level management positions. Possible transfer options in outdoor-related bachelor degree programs are offered by:
- SUNY College at Cortland
- Green Mountain College
- Ithaca College
- Lock Haven University
- Penn State University
Grad of Note - Benjamin Thorne
Why did you choose to attend Tompkins Cortland?
Having lived my whole life in Cortland New York, Tompkins Cortland Community College is a familiar name. I chose Tompkins Cortland because with my gap in education combined with my less-than spectacular grades in high school, I needed a place that would give me a chance to prove what I am capable of and to help me grow. TC3 is the college that gave me the opportunity I needed and much more.
Who at TC3 had the greatest positive impact on your experience?
The person that has had the greatest positive impact on my experience at TC3 is my academic advisor and the head of the recreation program, Patrick Mercer. From my very first class, Mr. Mercer has been the model of passion and dedication in his fields of both recreation and education. I consider him a mentor not only for his role as an educator, but his skills as a leader and the example he provides.
What were your extracurricular involvements at and how did they contribute to your college experience/future aspirations?
The majority of my extracurricular involvements have been with the Outdoor Adventure Club, which I had presided over these past two semesters. In my time with the club, I have worked to connect the TC3 community with the outdoor world and all the benefits that come with that interaction with nature. In my time with the OAC, I have been able to grow as an individual and leader as well as gain a sense of gratification through my service to the TC3 community.
What are your next steps after graduation (employment, transfer, etc) and how did the College prepare you for that?
My next step after graduation is to transfer to SUNY Cortland where I will attain my Bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Recreation. TC3 has prepared me to make this transition by providing me with the skills, education, connections, and resources to move forward with confidence.