Outdoor Insider Fall 2015 - Page 20

Getting to Know the Summit Series Speakers AORE’s Summit Series, to be held on Nov. 18 and 19, focuses on the themes of “Diversity and Inclusion in Adventure Recreation” and “Trends in Collegiate Recreation and the Impact on Adventure Programs.” The speakers bring a wide range of experience and expertise to address pertinent and timely issues in the field. Outdoor Insider heard from some of them about how they got involved in outdoor pursuits. Michael Edwards Director of Campus Recreation, Georgia Institute of Technology Summit Series Session: From the Director’s Lens Michael oversees a 300,000-sq.-ft. Campus Recreation Center, which has created national award-winning programs such as “The Unbeaten Path: Considering Global Leadership in the Shadow of China’s Great Wall,” a unique adventure program that connects American and Chinese students in discussion that promotes intercultural understanding. He is also responsible for the construction of a Leadership Challenge Complex that includes a freestanding, multi-level challenge course and a 3,000-sq.-ft. outdoor covered classroom. The complex brings together real-world technology and challenge course scenarios to create a situation where students, faculty, staff, and corporations can put theory into action. Michael was the sole winner of the 2013 Georgia Tech Management in Action Award. Michael’s past experiences have been in facility and event management, involving him in every aspect of more than 50 national and international events, including Division I NCAA Championships, World Championships, Pan American Games, and three Olympic games. Over his 40-year 20 career, Michael has given presentations on all aspects of programming, operations, and event management. “Aha” career moment: As a young schoolteacher in the ’70s, I started an outdoor course at a high school in Syracuse, N.Y. This class was an alternative to the normal physical education class. The curriculum was simple, and the final was a day hike to a predetermined point on a trail: Prepare a meal, clean up, and hike out. This was an inner-city school, so an experience such as hiking was a foreign concept. During the time I taught this class, I had not one discipline problem or anyone ever miss the class. This was unheard of in a physical education class at that time. Formative outdoor experience: Snorkeling in the Atlantic Ocean off the continental shelf with two dolphins, Tina and Lone Star. They were part of a scientific study of dolphins in the wild. I was just blown away by the fact that I was in their environment, no land in sight, and they were so welcoming of me and the others. We played together for a very long time--until the sun went down. However, I never felt in danger--until I realized it was dark and I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Favorite place on Earth: Anywhere I am several thousand feet in altitude, with several feet of snow, a narrow pathway down the side of the mountain, locked into a pair of skis! Best book read recently: Shift Points: Shift Your Thinking, Change Your Life, by Dean Del Sesto AORE Outdoor Insider | Fall 2015