Service with a smile
From 10000 to 19000 feet: this is Peru. At this high altitude, Matt and his classmates are submerged in their tents until the time comes to push forward. Offered through the School for International Expedition Training (SIET), Essentials of International Mountaineering is a course geared for aspiring outdoor educators who want to instruct internationally.
After graduating high school, Matt took a year off. “I was pretty lost as to what type of a path I wanted to go on.” Working for a local REI (Recreational Equipment Incorporated) outlet in his hometown of Bellingham, Wash., Matt had the opportunity gain the advice and inspiration for pursuing a career in outdoor education. His love for the outdoors was being kindled, and when his coworkers described the educational opportunities in the field of outdoor education, a spark ignited a luminous path leading to Green Mountain College.
Just three years later after being “pretty lost,” Matt was asked to lead a new and innovative position during the adventure education fall block: logistics coordinator. The adventure ed fall block is an entire semester dedicated to getting students involved in field experiences like climbing and rafting. “I was in charge of coordinating between the professors, the instructors, or outside contractors,” exclaims Matt. “I managed the budget and a lot of on-going administrative tasks. I co-instructed part of the courses.” Matt contributed more time to this program than nearly all of his classes combined.
This past summer, Matt completed an internship with Outward Bound stationed in Colorado. “I was instructing rock climbing/mountaineering courses for teens to adults. I really enjoyed that.” The community of Outward Bound has had an influential impact on Matt; enough of an impact that he will be working in Colorado again this summer. “That hopefully will lead into some winter work,” he says.
Matt has a lot to look forward to in his future. Next semester he will be taking the outdoor educator course with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). NOLS allows students to gain college credit by participating in outdoor field experiences, often leading to certifications.
“I want to keep doing extended wilderness instruction through an outdoor education school such as Outward Bound and then spend two or three months in South America every year for a while,” he says.
Matt has ventured from peak to valley and all over the country in pursuit of a unique lifestyle. It is seems that this is not only a clear path to success, but one that Matt loves as well. “I kinda dig the vagabond lifestyle.”
By Zak Stark '15