You found it!

Enclosed is a hearty collection of FOP policies, procedures, practices, information, tips, standards, and traditions, some of which have been a part of FOP since time immemorial (eg. 1979). The Leader Handbook is meant to be a cohesive point of reference for you while training and out in the field, and it is the cumulative product of years of love, attention, revision, warm fuzzies, typo-fixing, additions, and intention.

We encourage you to read through the handbook in its entirety. There is so much helpful information to glean from these pages that can help you to create a more fun, inclusive, effective, and safe trip for you, your co/tro, and your FOPpers. If you are feeling lost, this book can point you in the right direction, guiding you with years of FOP knowledge, wisdom, and tricks-of-the-trade — years of understanding of what makes FOP, FOP!

And yet, the handbook is incomplete. There are FOP traditions, memories, and learnings that certainly will escape this book. There are scenarios, situations, and sticky moments that you will encounter on FOP that this handbook will not be able to answer. However, the guiding principles imbued in this handbook can help inform the decisions that you will make to take on those challenging and oh-so-complicated moments and surpass them. You got this :)

One example of a FOP-ism that isn’t mentioned in these pages is the notion of “Questioning Everything.” This is the guiding idea that has shaped the revision of this document in the past and present, and we invite you to continue using it as the program continues to grow and develop. If something in the Leader Handbook feels outdated, or like it is not serving our program as well as it can, we invite you to question the current revision of this living document, so we can continue to build a community and a program that is continually improving to be the best version it can.

All of this handbook would be moot if it were not for one critical piece: you. We are so grateful for your service to our community and cannot wait to see where this handbook brings you, and, more significantly, where you bring this handbook. Building off a return to in-person FOP in 2022 (and searching for our 11th FOP Director), we are so excited to continue growing and building new memories, connections, practices, tips, and warm fuzzies, none of which would be possible without you. Thank you for all you do, and thank you for continuing to make FOP, FOP!

We wish you the best and are humbled to support you on this leg of your wonderful, warm, and fabulous journey as a FOP leader.

Adventure is out there <3

James, Anjali, Phoebe, Andrew, Rafid, Genevieve, Thor, and Aneesa

FOP Steering Committee 2023

Harvard First-Year Outdoor Program