Hello Lovely Readers!
Today we hear from two instructors about their participation in our Apprentice Program! This is a program for first years and sophomores, who are interested in becoming instructors in the Outdoor Program. If accepted, they learn office procedures, how to plan trips and how to be a leader on the trips. After winter break, they participate on a training trip with the current instructors in order to gain more training and understanding of not only the Outdoors in general, but also the leadership that comes with our program. This year’s Apprentice Program application is due this Friday, October 26 by 12pm, noon! If you are interested please come pick up your application today!
My first semester of Freshman year, I was really eager to get involved on campus. I knew that I wanted to try and find a job and I had remembered going into the OP office on my tour the first day of orientation. The second I found out that the instructors were students, I made it my goal of freshman year to become an instructor. I emailed the director, Tasha, and found out that they were thinking about having students interested in becoming instructors go through a thing called the Apprentice Program. I immediately was psyched and wanted to participate.
I started working in the office with a graduating senior who was an instructor in October of my freshman year. I did all the boring office work (that is actually kind of relaxing) all year and it was kind of like an internship. I was always in the office and ready to learn more about how to plan trips successfully. Once I got all of the planning down, I started to get to go on trips not as a participant, but kind of as an instructor in training. The other instructors started giving me a tougher role on trips with more responsibility and I loved it.
After winter break all of the apprentices got to go on a backpacking training trip with the instructors to have bonding and learning time. It was freezing, and slightly terrible…but also really awesome. Even through all of the challenges I personally encountered on the trip, I knew that I was still committed to being an instructor. It felt really nice to be out in the woods and completely self-sufficient. We learned how to filter our own water to drink, which was my favorite memory from the trip. A few of the apprentices were getting the water for the whole group and it was just a really nice moment where everyone was content and happy that we could contribute. Over the few days, I learned a lot about how I work which is why it was so awesome. I got to figure out my limits and then go past them with the support of all the other OP peeps.
The apprentice program took a lot of work on my end, not going to lie. It is really what you make of it. You could go through the year and not really take advantage of all the opportunities, or you could throw yourself into everything and really be prepared to maybe get hired as an instructor. Having participated in the program, being an instructor is second nature to me now. Not only am I super prepared and comfortable doing my job, but I also learned a lot about how I work with others and myself as a whole. Participating in the program was seriously one of my best decisions in college yet. The OP is the best job in the universe and I couldn’t be happier that I met my goal of being an instructor. We get paid to hike mountains which I do in my free time anyway.
In the spring of my freshman year, I decided to go on the OP spring break trip. We spent an entire week learning how to whitewater kayak and I was hooked from that point on. I went on more trips the fall of my sophomore year and knew I wanted to be an Instructor from that point on. I got accepted into the Apprentice program and went on the January training trip. It was cold and mentally and physically challenging, but the first things I think of when I reflect on the trip is how much fun I had and how much I learned! Like Kayla said, the Apprentice Program is really what you make of it. It can be as demanding as you want it to be. During the spring, I was able to really become comfortable with office systems and work on teaching kayaking skills. When I was hired as an Instructor, it made the transition really smooth and seamless as I’ve been working this semester. Being an Instructor is so much fun! You get to really develop your leadership skills while getting paid to do the outdoor activities you love!