Students run the Bowdoin Outing Club, from the four student officers through the student trip leaders to the student participants.
A full-time professional staff, consisting of the Club's Director and two Assistant Directors, guides the students through their training. Trips are led by student leaders that have completed the Leadership Training program. The Fall Leadership Training course takes place from September to November, with a focus on sea kayak skills. The Winter Leadership Training course takes place from January to March, with a focus on winter camping and mountaineering. The Spring Leadership Training takes place from March to May, with a focus on whitewater canoeing skills. Students apply for Leadership Training each semester, and interview with the BOC staff and officers for a spot in the competitive program, with 12-16 students accepted for each course.
The Leadership Training program requires more than 350 hours of lecture, demonstration, and fieldwork. Students devote eight full days to training with instructors from Wilderness Medical Associates to achieve certification as Wilderness First Responders (WFR). These days include classroom, practical and field experience. In addition, prospective leaders learn and must demonstrate proficiency in map and compass navigation; trip planning and logistics (food, gear, emergency preparedness, transportation); gear use, maintenance and repair; cooking; natural history; and low-impact camping techniques. By the time they're through, students in the Leadership Training program have learned the leadership styles and acquired a knowledge of group dynamics, and teaching and learning styles required to lead people as safely as possible in the field. The program culminates in a five- to seven-day wilderness expedition, during which each LTrainee is involved in planning, serves as leader for a portion of the trip, and teaches a class to the other leaders. Only after successful completion of LT can a student lead a trip for the Bowdoin Outing Club.