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Venture Outdoor Leadership is a department within the Division of Student Affairs. We contribute to the educational mission of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte by providing leadership opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and the Charlotte community. 

The mission of Venture Outdoor Leadership is to use experiential and adventure education techniques to provide transformative experiences that build character, develop leadership, and improve teamwork.

Venture Outdoor Leadership has strong ties with the Association for Experiential Education American Canoe Association, Professional Climbing Instructor’s Association, Wilderness Education Association, and Association for Challenge Course Technology.

  • We actively engage people in meaningful and challenging experiences.
  • These hands-on experiences are consciously designed to enhance growth.
  • The goal is to empower individuals to take broader control of their lives.
  • Reflecting on the experience is equally as important as the experience itself.
  • The physical and social environments can be shaped and managed to enhance learning.
  • We believe people learn best in an atmosphere that equally balances challenge and support. 
  • Venture strives to create and provide physically and emotionally safe environments, though participants also carry significant responsibility for maintaining safety.
  • When confronted with challenges, individuals and groups are impelled to make decisions.
  • There is much to be learned from reflecting on the choices made.
  • We offer individuals opportunities to move out of their comfort zone and to accept greater levels of challenge.
  • By overcoming challenges, individuals can move beyond their perceived limitations and increase personal qualities such as an improved sense of self worth and self confidence.
  • A series of successes (and learning from failures when they do happen) builds one's capacity to function more effectively under stress.
  • The environments and skills to which we introduce people increase their ability to choose active, healthy, enriching lives.
  • Giving participants the opportunity to choose their own level of challenge and operate at their highest capacity is both educationally sound and ethically imperative.
  • As individuals realize the impact of their choices, they increase their capacity to take greater responsibility for their lives.
  • Participants can transfer lessons learned from brief but powerful experiences into the rest of their lives.
  • There is great value in learning to work with and trust others.
  • Small communities or teams provide a powerful social environment for learning and growth.
  • Small group interactions provide opportunities for individuals to improve their interpersonal, communication, problem solving, and decision making skills.
  • There is value in groups reflecting on their dynamics and interactions, recognizing that task and process are equally important.
  • Compassion can be developed through working with diverse individuals in challenging situations.
  • Small group work provides a rich learning laboratory for observing and testing leadership styles and approaches.
  • Everyone can improve their leadership with guidance, training, practice, and opportunities to reflect on their experience.
  • Compassion is a necessary requirement of an effective leader.
  • Leadership experiences provide opportunities for individuals to more clearly see the impact of their choices on others.
  • By reflecting on the impact of decisions, judgment is enhanced.
  • Character development parallels leadership development.
  • There is value in increasing ones' sense of connection with self, with others, and with the natural world.
  • Spending time in natural environments offers rich opportunities for connecting with something greater than ourselves.
  • We want our participants to recognize that the natural environment is a limited and fragile resource requiring care and stewardship.
  • We value acting for the greater good.
  • Contributing to our communities is a way for us to give back for all we have received.
  • Giving of oneself builds connections with all involved, and gives individuals a more clear sense of their place in the world.
  • Helping others builds compassion.
  • Choosing to commit your time, effort, and sweat builds character.
  • Accepting leadership responsibility enables one to offer service (the servant leadership model).

We engage people in meaningful and challenging experiences to address individual, leadership, and community issues with a goal of increasing their capacity to serve.

We strive to be a catalyst to increase the students’ sense of self worth and personal responsibility.

We provide opportunities for the development of leadership qualities through trainings and positions of responsibility.

We design activities for small groups in which participants experience a sense of community, open communication and teamwork.

We regard the development of environmental stewardship as an inherent component of all we do. We promote awareness and sense of personal responsibility for our relationship with the natural environment and all related resources.

Through service, participants can actively contribute to their communities, while creating connections, learning compassion, and developing character.