Originally developed by Strathcona Park Lodge in 1977, the program is one of the most respected outdoor semesters in the world. Today, two three month COLT programs run each year – a 93 day semester from May to August and a 93 day semester from August until November – covering land and water based activities on Vancouver Island and in Squamish. COLT is accredited with the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of British Columbia, which means students are eligible for student loans and/or other training finances through their provincial governments.
The program is based at Strathcona Park Lodge, one of the first outdoor education centres in Canada and still a leader in the field, introducing more than 5,000 school aged students, families and travellers from around the world to the wilderness each year. In the 1970s it was hard to find qualified guides, so in 1977 Jim and Myrna Boulding, the Lodge founders, started the Apprenticeship Program (now known as the COLT) to train employees into the leaders they needed. More on the history of Strathcona and COLT.
COLT is now recognized as one of the leading guide and instructor training programs. Students come from all over the world to learn from world-class instructors. The reputation of COLT precedes graduates when they pursue jobs and further education. COLT alumni work around the world as wilderness guides, outdoor educators and leaders in adventure travel companies, guide bureaus and schools.