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Outdoor education professional: How I got my job and where I'm going

Video transcript

So while I was still in college I got an internship with the Colorado Outward Bound School. Gave me a really amazing perspective on the outdoor industry as a whole and all of the different moving pieces that make this extraordinary experience happen for people. From logistics, to program support, to the instructors themselves. From the internship, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to instruct for the Colorado school because I just fell in love with the people here, and with our mountains here in Colorado, and I didn't want to work anywhere else. As I was instructing, and as the years went on, I began to just really crave more stability in my life and more predictability. I wanted to be able to focus on security for when I got older, and the culminating experience of those feelings happened when I was teaching skiing. I let somebody convince me to try snowboarding, and I broke both of my wrists in one fall, and just like that I didn't have work, and the tenuousness of my employment and of my financial security really hit home at that moment. Now luckily, I was given administrative work at the ski resort. I started selling private ski lessons and selling ski school as a whole, and I found that I really liked working at a desk and getting to interact with such a wide variety of people everyday. So the injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise, and I am incredibly grateful that it was such a minor injury in the grand scheme of what can happen to us in the outdoors, but it was pretty scary to all of a sudden know that I don't have a paycheck coming in two weeks. So I started pursuing palates instruction because I love fitness, and I love challenging people physically. I coupled that with working for Outward Bound. So I would come back for palates teacher trainings, and then I'd go work a course, and it took me a couple years to get the certification, and then I worked as a palates instructor full-time for a year, found myself really missing Outward Bound, and more than that, missing being part of a team and working towards a common goal with other people. So when Outward Bound posted that they had a full-time year around job that touched on my previous sales experience from the ski resort, I was so excited to apply, and the process was fairly long and involved. There was a resume, cover letter, initial phone interview, in person interviews before being lucky enough to be the one selected for this current job. For somebody in the outdoor education field, I would say anecdotally that the average tenure of how long someone is in this industry is probably about three to five years. So it's not a very long-term type of career. Most people will wind up going back to school either to explore different career options, nursing seems to be really popular right now for the people that I started instructing with. I feel like a lot of them are going back to school to be nurses. A lot of others are going back to graduate school for education or a master's degree in outdoor education. My long-term goals professionally, it's kind of hard to think about right now because I feel like I just reached a long-term goal of making outdoor education a full-time, stable career, but right now, I think the next step might be moving into municipal or county parks and recreation departments. I'd love to work in program development for Denver or other Colorado cities or counties, and then kind of a pipe-dream, that thing you ask a little kid, what do you want to be when you grow up that I've kind of always held onto, is being involved in local or state government, and I think getting involved in a municipal or country government structure is a great way to get more for a feel of what elected office might look like.
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