When S.O.L.A.R. was formed over 30 years ago, the founding members determined that education was an important aspect of the group, hence the word "School" in S.O.L.A.R. While participating in activities in the outdoors always includes a level of risk, classes offered through S.O.L.A.R. provide an environment to learn and practice outdoor skills and experience unique group dynamics. All classes offered through S.O.L.A.R. are facilitated by members volunteering as Lead Instructors. The Education Committee works with individual members who want to offer classes that promote interest in the outdoors through the exchange of information with other members taking the classes. If you would like to get involved in classes offered through S.O.L.A.R., please contact the Education Chairperson, Jeff Zabel, via email.

Education Policies

  • Beginning Backpacking is the cornerstone of education offered through S.O.L.A.R. and all new members are strongly encouraged to take this class. The class is offered twice a year in the spring and the fall.
  • All prerequisites for advanced classes will be indicated in the course description and must be completed prior to the start of the class.
  • Signed liability waivers are required at the beginning of the each class.
  • No Alcohol is permitted during classes offered through S.O.L.A.R.
  • All participants must follow the safety instructions provided by each class's Lead Instructor.
  • S.O.L.A.R. has a No Refunds policy. If paid participants cannot attend a class, they must "sell their spots". The class organizer can assist them by identifying people who wish to take the place of participants that need to cancel. One way to do this is by creating a "waiting list" once the class is full.

If you have any questions about these Education Policies, please contact our Education Chairperson, Jeff Zabel, via email.

Classes Offered Through S.O.L.A.R.

If you are interested in taking a class, check out the calendar and contact the Lead Instructor for more information.

Backpacking & Camping Classes

  • Beginning Backpacking (Spring & Fall)
  • Enjoying Michigan Winters
  • Enjoying Car Camping
  • Intermediate Backpacking
  • Lightweight Backpacking
  • Advanced Backpacking & Leadership

Mountaineering Classes

  • Rock Climbing
  • Basic Mountaineering & Safety

Safety & First Aid Classes

  • Search & Rescue
  • Wilderness First Aid & Recertification
  • CPR & Recertification
  • Winter Survival
  • Winter Safety

Land Navigation & Orienteering Classes

  • Basic Land Navigation (Spring & Fall)
  • Advanced Land Navigation

Water Classes

  • Basic Kayaking
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Introduction to Canoeing

Biking Classes

  • Mountain Biking
  • Bicycle Touring
  • Bike Repair

Other Classes

  • Knots Workshop
  • Outdoor Cooking & Nutrition
  • Women in the Outdoors

If would like to suggest a class, please contact our Education Chairperson, Jeff Zabel, via email.