19 October 2016

How to Get Involved with College Outdoors 101

Hey friends!

So, as promised, this post will be all about how I got involved with College Outdoors and how you can too!
Rigging up in the morning
If you work for CO as a trip leader you will most likely begin to either work in Sequoia, our warehouse, or the office. It's good to get familiar with Sequoia in order to do all the trip pack outs as well as just understanding how to checkout/checkin gear, kitchen things, and other things that I really don't know too much about, sorry! (I am definitely not the right person to be asking about Sequoia since I've never had a shift with them.) Working in the warehouse is really cool though and theres a ton to learn since it's HUGE. The joke is (and if you ever come on an LC tour, you'll hear this), you could walk into the warehouse for a trip in your underwear and with a toothbrush and we could fully outfit you in everything you need for any of the dozens of trips we offer. If you work in the office you'll learn how to sign people up for trips, make payments, build trip binders, organize the logistics of trips, do some PR work on Facebook and Flickr and a ton more.

I started off by going on a New Student Trip, which is the summer before you begin your first year (either freshman year or as a transfer). They are a bit pricey, but when you break it down you're paying for all the equipment, the food, the guides/leaders, the transportation and if you have a "base location"- like a cabin then that shelter too, and it is very much worth it. Also, a good thing is that the ASLC (The Associated Students of Lewis and Clark) will offer financial aid to those on Federal Financial Aid, so you can go for half price. Like I've said in previous posts, I went on the Deschutes Rafting. It was sooo incredible! We rafted about 100 miles with a lot of drifting and a day of all white water rapids (this is the day stretch you do over the weekend trips). The slower days were great to get to know your guides and your fellow NST buds. Each night we would stop and make camp, we'd cook our own food and pack up and rig the boats each morning.

While you're on the NST it's great to talk to your leaders, they're students who also work with College Outdoors. They can answer all your questions about college outdoors, classes, professors, college life, and anything just general transition stuff. Take this chance to get involved and help out (you will anyways and begin to learn how to do things so it makes things run smoother). But this is really how I got my job. I helped with rigging a lot in the morning and just by talking to leaders I learned how to tie the knots, how to work with the stove and little things about packing out. If you step up and show that you're interested and you are eager to work then you might get recommended to work with CO.
Leader Ladder

If you don't go on an NST, or even if you do and you want to start working as a leader the first step is to become a Student Coordinator. It's the first step in the leader ladder.

To start, go online and fill out an application to become a Student Coordinator (SC) and a trip preference form: https://www.lclark.edu/programs/college_outdoors/about/volunteering_leadership/trip_preference_form.php
     Once you've done that, depending on your availability how things match up with preferences and other coordinator applications you'll likely lead at least one trip during the semester. As a SC you'll be learning how to do a pack out, check vehicles, understand the trip binder and other basic how-to's of college outdoors. Check out the Leader Ladder picture (posted above) and it shows a general list of the steps/requirements it takes to move up the ladder as well as the benefits of each stage. For instance, if you're an SC you go on the trip for half price. So, if you have federal financial aid and you're working as an SC then you get to go for 25% of the original price.

So I'm currently still an SC, just because I had to wait to get my Wilderness First Responder (which is offered through the school!) until this year - which I will be doing in January. However, I also work in the College Outdoors office.

Sequoia Warehouse!

I've just put a whole load of information on y'all but if anyone has any questions about College Outdoors, or anything about LC in general, feel free to email me :)