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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Outside Recreation adventures result in lofty, enjoyable jobs

GCU graduate Katie McKenna realized helpful abilities on Outside Recreation journeys that led to a job with REI.

By Mike Kilen
GCU Information Bureau

The mid-June rains got here laborious and quick, then the flash flooding. Roads and bridges collapsed, and the park was evacuated.

Chase Barnett was liable for the protection and happiness of vacationers who laid out good cash to see Yellowstone Nationwide Park, and he was the employed information in solely his second week of labor.

“We needed to roll with the punches, get resort rooms and flip round what we have been planning on doing, and amid all that do it with a smile,” mentioned Barnett, who needed to inform individuals in his group that they might not see a lot of Yellowstone. “That’s the character of guiding. You will be in some powerful conditions, and also you do your finest to ensure individuals round you’re having enjoyable it doesn’t matter what occurs.”

It’s a ability he picked up at Grand Canyon College. Despite the fact that the College is in the midst of a big metropolis and doesn’t have an outside recreation diploma, its strong Outside Recreation program offers many college students abilities they’re utilizing to land jobs within the outside business after commencement – even when their levels are in engineering, advertising, the sciences or entrepreneurial research, like Barnett.

GCU graduate Chase Barnett pauses for the view whereas guiding a bunch in Yellowstone Nationwide Park.

The Yellowstone journey was his second expedition as a Jackson, Wyoming-based information for Backroads, a global energetic journey firm.

“It’s been equally rewarding and exhausting on the similar time. It’s important to be on you’re A recreation on a regular basis. When your precedence is making somebody’s trip occur, you must put different individuals first on a regular basis. Then once more, I used to be whitewater rafting earlier at this time,” mentioned the 2022 graduate. “Despite the fact that I’m bodily exhausted, when you’ve a second you step again and understand that what you do for work is simply unbelievable.”

His profession path took a flip after he landed a pupil chief place with Outside Recreation in his junior yr, and he realized the enjoyment of bringing others to the outside to share his ardour for wild locations. And that’s the place he realized to make the perfect of the unpredictable.

He was main a GCU paddleboarding journey on the Colorado River by way of Horseshoe Bend. The primary day it did nothing however rain.

“So that you simply take a look at each other and all of the members and also you resolve, properly, we’re actually doing this and there’s no turning again, so our solely choice is to have angle,” he mentioned. “We bought again to camp, and it simply completely turned the journey round for us. You make it by way of an extended day, and the solar will come out ultimately.”

Pupil leaders take wilderness first responder coaching and different backcountry abilities programs to steer college students who join journey journeys, of which there are 113 deliberate for the subsequent educational yr all through the Southwest and hotspots close by on the attractive Arizona panorama.

“They don’t seem to be simply studying to start out a hearth or arrange a tent,” mentioned Chad Schlundt, Outside Recreation Supervisor. “They’re examples of experiential training to a T. You might be studying to steer friends, which is the toughest factor to do. Plenty of them know methods to construct relationships rather well. I discover that quite a lot of employers rent them for that skillset.”

It additionally helps to have expertise in public talking, pondering in your ft and drawback fixing, in addition to steely nerve to maintain your cool whereas evacuating the sphere throughout a lightning storm.

Schlundt retains a operating checklist of dozens of employers, from guiding corporations, camps, outfitters and contractors, the place former leaders are actually incomes wages.

“Dude, Chad,” former pupil Moriah Leuthauser lately instructed him within the outdoorsy vernacular, “my expertise with Outside Rec bought me this job (main adaptive outside recreation adventures with veterans and others with disabilities for an organization known as No Limitations).

“They have been so impressed that I knew methods to do an emergency motion plan.”

Others additionally mentioned they picked up an appreciation for the outside.

Katie McKenna will always remember her first journey as a pupil in 2017, to Havasu Falls, a bucket checklist Arizona vacation spot. She jumped off a 50-foot waterfall and slid down one other.

Katie McKenna finds delight within the outdoor.

“That was my first backpacking journey ever,” mentioned McKenna, who was hooked and the next fall grew to become a pupil chief.

Typically, essentially the most memorable journeys have been these with challenges.

Main a climbing journey in Nevada, McKenna and a co-leader misinterpret the map and ended up occurring a really troublesome route they couldn’t end.

“It was very humbling and embarrassing to battle a lot,” she mentioned. “So we modified plans, and it allowed us time to go to a rock formation close to Las Vegas. The entire group dynamic was good and keen to flow.”

Schlundt mentioned it’s what attracts employers to GCU college students – a Christian college expertise that creates a excessive stage of kindness and trustworthiness they convey to outside adventures.

McKenna mentioned getting a job working as a information for REI resulted from her expertise and wilderness certifications in this system. The 2019 graduate is now a day excursions regional program coordinator for REI.

“What we did for Outside Rec – being accountable for permits, planning, reaching out to visitors, occurring the journeys – is like six completely different jobs at REI, so it was actually impactful,” she mentioned. “It’s one thing most faculties and outside applications don’t supply.”

The trail to a job outdoor was much more atypical for Scott Martin, a 2020 mechanical engineering graduate.

He makes use of abilities realized as a visit chief with Outside Recreation and on the Canyon Exercise Heart’s climbing wall to get a job that mixes each his climbing abilities and his engineering diploma.

Scott Martin takes a selfie excessive atop a tower.

Martin climbs and examine cellphone towers, typically as much as 1,000 ft tall, for Tower Engineering Professionals.

“I by no means imagined these two would mix, however that was a powerful level after I bought employed. They knew I used to be a climber and never afraid of heights,” he mentioned.

Martin lately was married in Utah – to Cora (Bythrow) Martin, who additionally was concerned in Outside Recreation and now works at REI – and he might share with Schlundt and lots of different former college students who attended how he travels the nation for inspections excessive above the earth’s floor. He remembers what attracts him outdoor.

“No worries. You might be simply up within the clouds with the birds, trying over the land,” he mentioned. “It’s peaceable.”

The sudden profession path got here from gathering experiences outdoors the classroom and awakening to a brand new understanding lots of the former college students shared.

“First, understanding the significance of failing and never letting that maintain you down,” Barnett mentioned. “Failing typically and failing quick and studying from it are the quickest strategy to private development.”

He might pause outdoor, take a look at the massive image and put the stress of studying or private enchancment in perspective.

“If everybody, as soon as in awhile, can step again and rely their blessings from that chook’s-eye perspective — I’ve a roof over my head, I’ve meals on the desk and individuals who help me, and it’s sunny out at this time – you understand these are the issues which might be necessary.”

Grand Canyon College senior author Mike Kilen will be reached at [email protected] or at 602-639-6764.


Associated content material:

GCU At present: Outside Rec journeys ascend to heavenly concord

GCU At present: GCU Base Camp equips college students, employees for outdoor


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