Center for Wilderness Safety

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The  History  of  CWS


The History of CWS

The Center for Wilderness Safety was originally formed in 2004 as a class project at the Pennsylvania State University. The assignment was to create a company which offered goods or services that were perceived as being "needed" in the outdoor recreation field. The company, then named "Outdoor Ascent" or OA for short, offered three services: rock climbing instruction, teambuilding programs, and basic wilderness first aid.

Outdoor Ascent thrived for a few years before disbanding as it's key leadership graduated or moved away from the area. After about a year of hiatus, one of the original co-founders, Clifton Castleman, decided to start the company back up; only this time in Northern Virginia. With the help of Phil Gardner, the former program director of OA, a newly revised organization was born: Center for Wilderness Safety, or "CWS" since we just love ourselves some acronyms!

CWS focused primarily on American Red Cross courses until a local Boy Scout troop approached CWS to ask for a wilderness first aid training. Since that day, CWS has grown and flourished, training thousands of individuals in both American Red Cross and wilderness & remote medicine. CWS now focuses primarily on wilderness & remote medical training programs such as wilderness first aid and wilderness first responder, and is still an authorized provider of American Red Cross health & safety certification courses.

Not forgetting our roots in the community, Center for Wilderness Safety is a proud provider of the newly required BSA-specific (American Red Cross) Wilderness & Remote First Aid course which is required by the Boy Scouts of America for those youth and adult leaders attending both Philmont and Northern Tier high adventure bases. This new wilderness & remote first aid course will become a requirement for the rank of Star, and will be required for all participants attending all high adventure bases beginning in 2014.


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