University of Missouri

Venture Out

Office of Student Engagement


Wilderness First Responder (WFR)

Venture Out offers a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course each year in January. People involved in outdoor activities (canoeing, backpacking, caving, hunting, fishing, rock climbing) or who plan to pursue an outdoor career should strongly consider this exceptional leadership opportunity. Many outdoor programs such as National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Outward Bound, and the federal government require a WFR certification for entry level positions. This course is open to all people of all experience levels, including MU students, high school students, boy and girl scout leaders, parents, teachers, medical professionals, and all other community members. Participants must be at least 16 years old.

This 75 hour course is taught by an instructor from SOLO Wilderness Medicine. The Wilderness First Responder curriculum uses the principles of long-term care, improvised resources, and varying environmental conditions as the framework for learning. Created to provide outdoor leaders, guides, rangers and travelers with the knowledge needed to deal with crises in remote settings, this course meets and exceeds all DOT National Standards for First Responder with additional protocols for extended care situations. The emphasis of the WFR course is on prevention and decision-making. View an outline of what WFR covers.

Our next WFR course will take place all day  January 4-11, 2019  (75 hours) on the MU campus in Columbia, Missouri. 

  • Cost: $625/person ($400 non-refundable deposit required)
  • The deadline to enroll is November 23, 2018. You will not be contacted about the course until after registration closes in late November.
  • Looking for a WFR Recert? Our WFR Recert course is the same as the Wilderness First Aid course. It will take place January 12-13. Cost is $180/person for the WFR Recert.
  • ORG Funding is available for recognized MU student groups.
  • Venture Out does not provide lodging or transportation for these courses.
  • The WFR certification is good for three years.


“I took the Wilderness First Responder course in 2012 as one of the adult leaders in our church’s youth backpacking trip to the Rocky Mountains. Cliff Stockton, the WFR instructor, did a great job of making the nine day class move quickly with a mix of in-depth material, challenging exercises, and stories from his experiences. I’ve used skills from the class on each of the three trips since I certified and often outside of the wilderness. Most important, the class gave me a basis for making hard decisions that were important to the students’ safety. I highly recommend the Wilderness First Responder course for anyone leading and participating in outdoor group activities.” -Matt Blotevogel, WFR 2012


Who is the WFR course for?
The WFR is the perfect course for anyone working in a position of leadership in an outdoor setting or for individuals who want a high level of wilderness medical training for extended personal backcountry trips or expeditions.  SOLO’s Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course is the recognized industry standard for those who work as backcountry trip leaders, camp counselors, mountain guides, river guides, and ski patrollers.

What is taught?
The WFR is 75 hours long, and is a comprehensive and in-depth look at the standards and skills of dealing with: Response and Assessment, Musculoskeletal Injuries, Environmental Emergencies and Survival Skills, Soft Tissue Injuries, and Medical Emergencies. Although these appear to be the same basic topics covered in our two-day WFA course, they are covered far more extensively, and there is much more hands-on practice (See sidebar). Additional topics, such as CPR, are also included.

Is there an exam?
There is ongoing evaluation of practical skills, and a written test.

Do I get certified?
Yes. Your SOLO WFR certification is good for three years.

How do I recertify?
You may take either a 2-day WFR Refresher Course or a 2-day Wilderness First Aid course. Venture Out offers our WFA course as the WFR recertification.

Does the WFR course count as continuing education?
The WFR typically counts as continuing education credits, although it may depend on what certification you have. Street EMTs who take the WFR course may become certified as Wilderness EMTs.

Do you provide food or lodging?
Venture Out does not provide food or lodging for these courses. The class will break for lunch each day, and the MU campus and nearby downtown district have many great options. Participants have the option to stay on the MU campus in Residential Life Guest Housing during the course. Single rooms are $50 per night and double rooms (share with another WFR participant) are $30 per night. To book a room, call Residential Life at 573-884-6500 and ask for Guest Housing. Tell them you’re with Venture Out Wilderness First Responder.