Major: Recreation and Outdoor Education
Hometown: Hockinson, Washington
Favorite Outdoor Activity: Backpacking
What tools has the ROE program taught you to help you succeed as an outdoor professional?
Although this is only my second year at Western I have definitely added a few tools to my outdoor professional tool kit. One of the most important has been to avoid tunnel vision. Most ROE majors are just big kids and it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of being an outdoor leader. Not saying that fun needs to be avoided while working outside with clients but to take a step back and look at the big picture is a skill. In Professor Tame’s Leadership and Administration course we learned that this creates a safer environment for both guide and client and can prevent catastrophe. Making an outdoor adventure fun for clients requires constant situational awareness on the part of the guide.
What has been of your most influential experiences during your time as a student in the ROE program?
I have to say that my most influential experience is taking place this term. I am currently in Alternative Programming and for my semester project I am creating exercise and recreation programs for three clients with special needs. I have been working one on one with these amazing individuals and will continue to do so through Special Olympics this spring. I have been very humbled by this experience and it has confirmed that this is the population I want to work for and with.
How has your time at Western stood out?
The biggest stand out to me has been the amount of community involvement encouraged in almost every class. In my time here I have guided LNT centered rafting trips down the Gunnison river, planned and helped with the high school rock climbing competition, volunteered at COES, harvested and helped at the Chipeta garden, and worked with special needs clients from six points. Gunnison is an incredible close knit and caring community. I am happy the ROE program takes advantage of this and allows students to help foster this relationship.
Has your time balancing school, training and competing helped prepare you for your future?
The biggest challenge since moving to Gunnison has been balancing full time school, a part time job, and running over 80 miles a week as part of my training. It leaves little time for anything else! However I am grateful for the challenge because it has strengthened my ability to manage my time and prioritize. After graduating plan on continuing to run and work so time management will always be needed.
What is you dream job now that your time at Western is almost up?
I would absolutely love to be a personal trainer and coach for individuals with special needs. I want to teach general exercise programs including outdoor activities for those with special needs because I believe exercise and nature are essential to both physical and mental health. I also want to coach athletes with special needs because I am so inspired by their determination despite disability and I want to help them reach their athletic goals.
How has competing on the Cross Country Team gone this year?
I have been so blessed to be a part of the cross-country running team at Western. It is truly and amazing group of women and I have made memories I will never forget. I have enjoyed the season so far. Winning the home meet as well as winning at Ft. Hayes and setting a course record were probably the highlights. I recently took second at the RMAC championships and am looking forward to racing at the regional meet in Denver this weekend.