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Texas Outdoor Leadership Conference

Friday, February 10th - Sunday, February 12th, 2023

The Texas Outdoor Leadership Conference (TOLC) provides regional outdoor program administrators, educators, and students a unique opportunity to network, develop backcountry skills and exchange ideas associated with outdoor leadership, risk management, and environmental stewardship.

View the TOLC Conference Flyer

About the Conference

The Texas Outdoor Leadership Conference (TOLC) is a student-focused programming weekend for those who want to connect with others interested in outdoor recreation.

Conference attendees, from inside Texas or a neighboring region, can share and present ideas and practices within the field of Outdoor Recreation. Whether you are an experienced member of a solid outdoor program, or have just entered into the field, TOLC will have something for you.

Area Description

Lake Houston Wilderness Park is a wooded parkland that encompasses 4,786.6 acres. It is the only park owned by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department that has overnight camping and lodging. There are over 20 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails available inside the park.


25840 FM 1485, New Caney, TX 77357
Google Maps

Universities are encouraged to carpool as much as possible to reduce vehicle traffic and ensure parking for everyone at TOLC


Registration opens on 12/1/2022

The registration button will direct you to the University of Houston Campus Recreation portal, If you are a current UofH affiliate or have created an account in the past, Login. Otherwise, create an account.


After creating an account, navigate to "Programs", "Outdoor Adventure", "TOLC" and select "Texas Outdoor Leadership Conference". Add this program to your cart, and checkout online via credit card.


Early Bird Rates Open Now

Rate Student Professional Dates
Early Bird $40 $60 Dec. 1st - Jan. 1st
Regular $45 $65 Jan. 2nd - Jan. 25th
Late $50 $70 Jan. 26th - Feb. 10th

What is Included

Not Included

  • Dinner Friday, Breakfast Saturday, Dinner Saturday, Breakfast Sunday
  • Food for Dutch Oven cook-off *Needs to be enough to feed your group PLUS some extra as it will be served pot-luck style
    • Food supplies for entree and dessert
    • Dutch Oven and accessories (if applicable)
    • Cooking utensils
    • Kitchen supplies (Or anything that will help you prepare a delicious meal)
    • Charcoal

Additional Information

University of Houston Welcome Center Parking Garage
4434 University Dr, Houston, TX 77204

In Front of the University of Houston Campus Recreation
4500 University Dr, Houston, TX 77004

University of Houston Student Health Center (Behind the University of Houston Campus Recreation
4349 Martin Luther King Blvd, Houston, TX 77204

Pre-Conference Activities - Friday, February 10th

Indoor Rock Climbing at the University of Houston Campus Recreation (2pm - 8pm)

Bring your equipment, or use the available rental equipment, and experience climbing on the University of Houston’s 53-foot tall climbing wall! Note: Tubular-style belay devices only are permitted

Parking is not included. Be sure to get a ticket at the parking garage or risk a parking ticket

Campfire Social at Lake Houston Wilderness Park (7pm - 10pm)

Bring instruments, games, fun stories, and smiles!

Great way to start or end your TOLC at Lake Houston Wilderness Park:

  • Bring or rent boats and paddle the 5 miles down Peach Creek into Lake Houston
  • Hike the over 20 miles of trails found at the park and find geocaches along the way
  • Eat at some of the local restaurants from within New Caney
  • Bring your fishing pole and try your luck in the Peach Creek

All event times are to be determined.


  • Pre-Conference Activities (see the previous section)
  • SMORES Campfire Social


  • TOADs Breakfast Meeting
  • Conference Welcome and Keynote Speaker
  • Presentations and Workshops
  • Lunch Social & T-Shirt Swap
  • Presentations and Workshops
  • Adventure Race
  • Dutch Oven Cook-Off Event
  • Film Showing


  • Morning trash clean up
  • Volunteer opportunity at Lake Houston Wilderness Park | Possible projects: Replant Garden or Prairie Restoration
  • Farewells and Departures

Branndon Bargo

Headshot of Branndon bargo

Branndon has led large and difficult expeditions to Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and more than 50 other countries. He competes in the world's most difficult endurance events to keep in shape for his expeditions, including the world's toughest canoe race, the world's toughest one-day mountain bike race in Bhutan, and racing in triathlons and ultramarathons.

Branndon, with his brother Greg, are the world's first to climb Mount McKinley, the highest point in North America then bike 4,000 miles self-supported to Baja Mexico and scuba dive with great white sharks in their Summit to Sea Expedition.

He led the One Blood Expedition to climb the three highest peaks in Africa accessing each by biking and canoeing across Lake Victoria, the world's second-largest lake. Recently he achieved a world record time by climbing the 7 summits of Central America in 12 days.

Branndon has a Broadcast Journalism degree from Texas State University. He has an Emmy nomination for his work with The Daytripper, and is the producer of two Discovery Channel documentaries - To Live or Die on Everest, and Everest's Greatest Mystery.

He is the founder and owner of the outdoor company, Live Adventure, and is Executive Producer and host of The Highpointers on PBS and Amazon Prime.

TOLC is centered around sharing and gaining knowledge and experiences with others through student and professional presentations. If you have a special skill to share, a unique programming idea, or an opinion to share, please propose a presentation. Presentations will consist of a combination of skill based workshops and traditional informational sessions.

Here are reasons you should present at TOLC

  1. Public speaking is vital to your professional development and this is a great place to practice those skills
  2. You get to represent your university
  3. For 30-45 minutes ... you will be the center of attention
  4. You can grow the minds of impressionable peers that want to learn
  5. Your boss will get to report that you are presenting and that makes you and your program look good
  6. You could make someone better ... .including yourself
  7. You can put it on your resume

Deadline for proposals: 1/15/23

Submit Your Proposals

TOLC aims to eliminate barriers to individuals who wish to participate in the conference. TOLC is offering student scholarships to cover an individual's full cost of the conference.

Additional Information:

  • Scholarship recipients are responsible for travel to and from the conference
  • Scholarship funds are not transferable to another person
  • Please be sure to reference your name on all submitted materials
  • Students who are not selected will still receive early bird pricing, even after January 1st

Deadline for applicants: 1/1/23

Scholarship Application

Got a bunch of old staff shirts tucked away in your office? A bunch of promotional shirts that no one picked up at a tabling event? Do you already have 10 staff shirts and you don't wear them all anymore? Well, bring them to TOLC 2023!

Schools are encouraged to bring t-shirts that represent their school and/or outdoor program. At TOLC 2023 we will be hosting a t-shirt swap so we can support each other's universities and programs!

A River Out of Time

The Green and Colorado river systems form the backbone of the American West. Once spanning a 1,450-mile journey from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California, today, none of the sediment-rich water reaches the Pacific Ocean. Instead, its water lies stymied in reservoirs and siphoned off to feed and nurture 40 million people from Salt Lake to Los Angeles.

As the demand we place on the water of the Colorado continues to exceed its supply, we are forced to face uncomfortable truths about decisions made in our past. And we are reminded that the way we think about water—and all those dependent upon it—needs to shift if we want things to change for our future.

All Outdoor Adventure programs are alcohol, and illegal substance free.

All registrations must be paid in full at time of enrollment. To cancel your participation, you must contact

  • 100% refund minus the $25 cancellation fee if contacted more than 28 days out from the trip.
  • 50% if notified between 27 and 14 days of the trip.
  • 25% if notified between 13 and 7 days of the trip.
  • 0% if notified less than 7 days before the trip.
  • Dutch Ovens
    • Food/Supplies for Dutch Oven Cook-Off
  • Instruments/Games
  • T-shirts for the T-shirt Swap
  • Clothing and accessories to comfortably be outside all day
    • Shirt
    • Pants
    • Socks
    • Outdoor Shoes
    • Jacket
    • Hat
    • Shorts
    • Etc.
  • Sunscreen, insect repellent, and sunglasses
  • Watch
  • Toiletries
    • (*Showers are available)
  • Tents and sleeping gear
  • Flashlight &/or headlamp & batteries
  • Camping chair
    • (*bring a camping chair*bring a camping chair*don't forget your camping chair* you wil NEED a camping chair)

The Adventure Race is a way to showcase your outdoor skills and abilities in a timed competition!

Teams of four have 90 minutes to complete as many stations as possible. Teams are scored on a variety of skills, times, and knowledge. Score the highest of any team, and you, your partner, and your school take home the trophy!

Registration: Will occur at the start of the event - location

On Saturday evening, show off your Dutch Oven cooking skills and enjoy the culinary creations of other universities!

Choose a creative or challenging recipe, and wow the judges! Each team provides their own ingredients, coals, fire pan, and all other supplies.

Your finished meal is your ticket to the potluck Dutch oven dinner party on Saturday Night!


Coals/Fires cannot be lit until 4pm on the day of the competition and dishes must be submitted by 7pm to qualify for judging.

Groups are encouraged to bring multiple Dutch-ovens and prepare food that is just to share for everyone! (These dishes can be started prior to 4pm)

The entire group potluck will begin promptly at 7:15pm to allow 15 minutes for judges to taste each competition dish. Awards will be presented to the school with the best:

  • Entree (main course)
  • Dessert