Wild Northerner Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 54

Q: What does it mean to you to have the opportunities you paddle and experience?

A: For me it doesn’t matter what boat or what style of paddling I am doing. I can get equally lost in the rhythm of soloing a canoe on a glassy lake at night or in the concentration it takes to paddle a hard rapid in a white-water kayak. One of my most proud and favourite memories of paddling would be when after my first year of university (2012) I decided to paddle solo from Thunder Bay, Ontario to my family’s home in Rothesay New Brunswick. The journey was over 3000km long and lasted 105 days. This trip was challenging physically and mentally as I spent most of the trip by myself.

Q: Tell us about your role as an instructor and what the experience has been like?

A: Although Outward Bound staff is considered instructors, I see my style as more of a facilitator. Obviously, it is our job to teach hard skills, but it is also our job to create a space where people are open to sharing about and reflecting on their lives. What I love about instructing Outward Bound courses is they can have an impact on all the participants, no matter what their background. For instance, I have worked with youth at risk, cancer survivors and their siblings, as well as military veterans. Often, I will ask each group similar reflection questions or present them with the same activities. The metaphors we use allow people to respond in their own matter and in a way, that is relevant to their own personal growth or healing. Instructing Outward Bound courses becomes rewarding for me in those moments where I can see that a course has had an impact on someone. The impact can be huge or very minute-it can range from being as simple as someone saying that their first camping trip wasn’t as scary as they thought to people completely revaluating their relationships with their loved ones. The beauty of it is that the change can be completely unexpected.

Q: What inspires you to paddle as much as you can in life?

A: Paddling for me is a chance to reflect. It simplifies life being on the water, when your needs are reduced to staying warm and dry, eating well and making it to the next campsite. I can get pretty caught up the stressing out about school, money, relationships and sometimes I forget to take the time to be still out on the water. Then when I get out there I remember why I love it so much. There is something so special about being on the water whether it is for an afternoon or for a summer.

Q: Tell us about your role as an instructor and what the experience has been like?

A: Although Outward Bound staff is considered instructors, I see my style as more of a facilitator. Obviously, it is our job to teach hard skills, but it is also our job to create a space where people are open to sharing about and reflecting on their lives. What I love about instructing Outward Bound courses is they can have an impact on all the participants, no matter what their background. For instance, I have worked with youth at risk, cancer survivors and their siblings, as well as military veterans. Often, I will ask each group similar reflection questions or present them with the same activities. The metaphors we use allow people to respond in their own matter and in a way, that is relevant to their own personal growth or healing. Instructing Outward Bound courses becomes rewarding for me in those moments where I can see that a course has had an impact on someone. The impact can be huge or very minute-it can range from being as simple as someone saying that their first camping trip wasn’t as scary as they thought to people completely revaluating their relationships with their loved ones. The beauty of it is that the change can be completely unexpected.

Q: What inspires you to paddle as much as you can in life?

A: Paddling for me is a chance to reflect. It simplifies life being on the water, when your needs are reduced to staying warm and dry, eating well and making it to the next campsite. I can get pretty caught up the stressing out about school, money, relationships and sometimes I forget to take the time to be still out on the water. Then when I get out there I remember why I love it so much. There is something so special about being on the water whether it is for an afternoon or for a summer.