Pathfinders on an Earth Trek in the mountains

Leadership Framework


KSS Leadership Framework

This is not a specific curriculum or lesson, but rather a framework with a foundation of 5 elements of leadership that can be applied to any program/age/activity. As students progress through camp, adventure, and school-based programs, they will become familiar with the 5 elements and have opportunities to grow within each.

This framework is meant to help instructors identify which elements of leadership are linked to the activities/programs they are leading and how to effectively teach valuable skills through activity facilitation, debrief, and conversation.

Graphic of our Leadership Framework


The foundation of leadership. Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are crucial parts of leadership. “JEDI” competencies are essential to developing open-minded leaders who can create inclusive communities by working effectively with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

  • JEDI concepts (use age-accessible version JEDI Concepts Training)
  • Inclusive language
  • Critical Thinking JEDI applications
  • Creating “brave” spaces
  • Understanding barriers and constraints to the outdoors

Critical Thinking

At KSS you will learn how to think, not what to think. You will focus on open-minded decision making as it applies to group problem solving, risk management, and information interpretation. You will engage with real world applications such as planning, preparation, and environmental issues.

  • Decision making
  • Risk management
  • Environmental Issues
  • Complex ideas/systems


Rooted in unique outdoor experiences, you will gain valuable insight on how to effectively collaborate with others while building awareness of others’ emotions and differences in expression. Activity and discussion topics could include group dynamics, opinion exchange, conflict resolution, reliability, team management, and more.

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Community
  • Group Dynamics
  • Relationship building
  • Giving/receiving feedback
Group of Adventures students swimming in the river during a rafting trip
Adventure students buried in the sand in the Sand Dunes National Park

Personal Growth

You will learn how to better interpret and share your emotions and, thus, advocate for your needs while building independence and greater understanding of yourself. In addition, you will learn how to set realistic, tangible goals—both short- and long-term—and plot a course to reach them.

  • Individual styles
  • Develop personal ethic
  • Be able to create and maintain individual goals
  • Independence
  • Self-assurance
  • Social and Emotional literacy

Skill Cultivation

Exposure to adventure skills will help you build confidence in those particular skills, and the more you engage with these skills the more you will learn and grow. These skills can be transferred from your time with KSS to your next steps in life and beyond.

  • Specialized outdoor living skills (Technical skills)
  • Teaching/facilitation
  • Exposure to different experiential skills and leadership styles
  • Transferable life-long skills to better become a more compassionate human
  • Confidence and competence in specific skills