Being an outdoor enthusiast, when I heard about the opportunity to get trained in outdoor leadership, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. Aside from my personal desires to gain more experience in the outdoors, I currently work for University Recreation (UREC) Marketing as an intern assigned to the Outdoor Recreation Center (ORC) team and figured gaining additional outdoor leadership experience will only help me become a better UREC employee. Outdoor Leadership Training is an 11-day course provided by the Outdoor Recreation Center to instruct participants how to lead a group into the wilderness through training in backpacking, kayaking and rock climbing.
This past Tuesday was the pre-trip orientation where trainers from the ORC provided all of the students with an overview of what will be taking place during the training. Not knowing any of the other students participating in the course, I was glad when the staff trainers started the meeting with an ice breaker for everyone to get to know each other. They gave us outdoor activity scenarios and asked us to express our “comfort level” with the scenario provided. This was a great way for each of us to see where we are comfortable and where we still need some development. It was reassuring to see other people have some of the same situational comforts as I did. Next, the staff provided guidance on some aspects of the training like Leave No Trace, how to properly pack a backpack for hiking and what to bring and not to bring on outdoor adventures. We finished things up on Tuesday with a tentative schedule of events for the duration of the course (subject to change depending on weather).
Being a leadership course, each of the students teaches several aspects of the course. I chose to provide a brief history of Granite Point, where we will be conducting the rock climbing portion of training; how to read a topographical map, since maps are a necessary resource for every outdoor trip, and alternatives for campfires that are better for the natural world. I am not an expert on any of these, but I will do some research to be comfortable teaching others and can answer questions regarding these topics.
While I am a little nervous about what is in store for us during this course, I am more excited than anything. Having the opportunity to spend 11-days in a row in the outdoors gaining experience and learning from professionals how to be an effective leader in the outdoors is a dream come true. We will be starting with some pool training with kayaks to begin and then we will head to Granite Point for the rock climbing portion for the next couple of days. After the climbing portion is done next Sunday, I will give you an update on how things are coming along.