Essential Eligibility Criteria

Essential Eligibility Criteria (EEC) for The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) Program Participation

The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education’s (NCOAE) students learn experientially, through outdoor adventures and educational experiences that foster teamwork, environmental stewardship and the acquisition of technical skills. NCOAE programs and activities can be physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging. To fully participate, live, and thrive in natural environments, each student must be capable of personal and group responsibility.

This document is designed to provide the information needed to objectively evaluate whether one has the ability to participate in an NCOAE program or activity. The safety of all participants is paramount and is the guiding principle behind these criteria. The Essential Eligibility Criteria apply to all NCOAE students.

Sound, fair, and safe decisions about whether potential participants may be a part of an NCOAE program or activity are derived from: a clear understanding of the program, accurate information, and an unbiased assessment. Decisions about participant eligibility are, therefore, evaluated by NCOAE personnel who have a medical background and an understanding of NCOAE’s activities and program.

Participation in NCOAE programs and activities will be permitted except when allowing a person to participate can be reasonably expected to endanger that person or any other person. Some remote locations may require as much as one week’s travel to reach advanced medical care.

General travel conditions may include deep sand, rough, rugged, uneven, steep, and sloping terrain, human made and animal made trails, rocky terrain that may range from smooth bedrock to extensive areas of large or small boulders, rivers and creeks three feet or more in depth, ascending, descending or traversing, bushwhacking off trail through thick vegetation, and may occur during periods of inclement weather during the day or nighttime hours.

The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education’s Essential Eligibility Criteria lists the following basic functions required to participate in an activity. Each potential NCOAE student must be able to independently meet the following criteria to participate in an NCOAE activity or program. Students must be able to:

If you have any questions or concerns about our Essential Eligibility Criteria, contact the NCOAE office Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30am – 4:30pm Eastern Time by calling (910) 399-8090, or email You can also reach us by mail by writing to:

The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education
Attn.: Essential Eligibility Criteria
9809 River Road
Wilmington, North Carolina 28412 USA