Mark first discovered Green Mountain College through The Outdoor Leadership Program at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Mass. “You could compare it to a NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) course, so it’s a condensed version of that, but more certification driven.”
The program lacked the classroom-based theory he was looking for, so his teachers encouraged him to finish his associate’s degree and continue his education by earning a bachelor’s degree at GMC.
An adventure education major who finished his graduation requirements in the fall of 2015, Mark has taken his expertise and turned it into an entrepreneurial venture with an old friend from Spain. Mark spent the last two summers in Norway, providing kayaking tours to tourists.
“I originally went out there and applied to a kayaking business out there. I was told all the spots were filled, but they offered an internship program and I thought I could learn a lot through it.”
Mark’s business began with another intern named Rubio from Spain.
“We had talked to a local landowner who had a couple of kayaks and he was renting them to his guests at a campground.” Mark eventually “inherited” the kayaking business—he and Rubio partnered with the landowner to form Global Outdoor Adventure Services partnering with Active Geiranger in Geirangerfjord, Norway.
Mark loved the adventure education curriculum courses here at GMC; he participated in the fall block course in the fall semester. At GMC he connected with a close group of friends in the adventure education program who liked to go kayaking on the weekends. He’s attended kayaking festivals in Vermont and Deerfield, Mass.
After graduation, Mark has plans to return to Norway and run the kayaking business, and potentially launch a new venture. His long-term interest is spreading his business to different locations so he can “hop” seasonally to get into a warmer climate.
“It’s a business model in commercial tourism, especially in sea-kayaking, that I truly believe can be applied anywhere.”