University of Maine launches exciting outdoor leadership program

The University of Maine is launching a very exciting and timely outdoor leadership program to “help us secure Maine’s rich heritage of outdoor recreation and empower the next generation of outdoor leaders and ecotourism businesses.”

This is a fantastic idea and a good match for our State University. Phase 1 of the program will be implementation of a minor in outdoor leadership. Phase 2 will be implementation of a four-year major in outdoor leadership. Phase 3 is designed to create a legacy of outdoor leaders.

I kind of wish I could return to UMaine, where I graduated in 1970. I would definitely have embraced this opportunity and I’m sure this this going to be very popular with students in the future.

The university will be looking for funding for some elements of this program including equipment that the students will need. I’ll let you know when and where to send your contributions.

Today I want to share with you some information that they just shared with me. Here it is.

Unique and powerful – UMaine’s outdoor leadership program is the first academic program of its kind in a number of ways:

The intensive focus on leadership skill building is unique in its degree and will transcend the students career environment.

This is the only known program that explores the traditional outdoor activities that have been an intricate part of Maine’s culture and economy. It is an important complement to contemporary outdoor activities and a key element for gaining a holistic understanding of the field’s environmental and social issues.

The interdisciplinary nature of this program will produce the skilled, safe, and knowledgeable outdoor leaders that we will need to navigate the challenges facing outdoor lands and their use in the decades to come.

This is the only academic program in the country to utilize a wide array of Maine’s unique natural resources by pushing beyond the borders of campus to partner and collaborate with universities and facilities across the state.




George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.