Our graduates are competent leaders in the outdoors who exhibit excellent role modelling and judgement to ensure their colleagues and clients have safe and transformative experiences in wilderness settings.
HBOR/ BA (Geography) 2008
I grew up in southern Ontario and was introduced to the outdoors through camping trips with my family in the Algonquin Park area and then later through scouts. These experiences inspired me to go to Lakehead University on the shores of Lake Superior, where I completed a double degree in Geography and Outdoor Recreation, Parks and Tourism.
I worked guiding canoe trips at a few different summer camps and soon got involved with Outward Bound Canada with their youth program in Burks Falls, Ontario. I knew I wanted to work in the field of outdoor education so I started building more experience. Spending a summer guiding sea kayak trips in Rossport allowed me to spend a lot of time solo paddling around the islands off the coast of Lake Superior. I became intimately connected to this part of the world.
With the announcement of the Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (LSNMCA) in the fall of 2007, I knew that this was my chance to fulfill my dream to conduct a very long sea kayak expedition on Lake Superior. With two good friends, Jessica Johnson and Aaron Nicholson, I planned a 50 day sea kayak research expedition into the LSNMCA, an area that can be paddled comfortably in a week. Spending this extended period of time paddling the vast majority of shoreline and islands let us become even more connected, meet many locals, and record invaluable information about levels of human use, coastal sensitivity, and risk management. Since then I remain intimately connected and dedicated to the protection of this area.
HBOR/BA (Geography) 1995
I work as the Program Director for British Columbia for Outward Bound Canada. I have been with Outward Bound Canada on and off since 1995. I am also a Paddle Canada Advanced Instructor Trainer in multiple disciplines (Moving Water Canoe and Canoe Tripping, working towards same level in Sea kayak and Ocean Canoe in 2012).
I earned my ORPT/BA Geography degree in 1995 and an OEE Bachelor of Education from Queen's University in 2000. I am currently working on a Master of Arts (Education) from the University of British Columbia.
Within Outward Bound, we work with youth and adults on urban and wilderness-based experiential learning programs geared towards personal development and growth. Nationally we offer programs for veterans, male and female survivors of abuse, New Canadians, youth at risk, school and community groups, aboriginal youth as well as open enrollment youth and adult programs. The program is divided nationally by course area - Eastern Canada (lake and river travel, urban adventure based learning and curricular programs, winter dogsledding), Alberta (Mountain travel) and BC (Ocean travel and coastal backpacking).
Why pursue ORPT?
It is a good program with great faculty, but most of all there is an enormous community of people in the field who know and have gone through the program. Many Outward Bound staff are ORPT grads, as well as many of those I have worked with over the years (my classmate and good friend Scott MacGregor started Rapid Magazine, for example). While not everyone stays in the field from the program, those who do are good at what they do and knowledgeable about the industry.
HBOR/ BA (Geography) 1999
My time as an ORPT student at Lakehead taught me many things. I loved the opportunity to study a variety of topics and participate in two degrees that gave me numerous options upon graduation. I may not have known what I wanted to do while I was studying, but I surely knew I was in the right learning environment. Close contact with professors and fellow students supported educational goals I wouldn't have accomplished on my own. I came to the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) on the recommendation of a friend one summer nine years ago. I have worked a variety of positions for NOLS in wonderful and exotic locations, with the freedom to create and shape my own job.
Some of my proudest moments include the opportunities I've had to visit ORPT classes at Lakehead University as a fellow professional who has a story to share, remembering where it all began. Today, as a trained personal coach I take all of these experiences and support the growth of others, building the life that I love.