Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leadership Profiles: Past and Present

Spring 2011 Leadership Students - Pre-Course Shot

Planting seeds of leadership, watering them with outdoor activities, and cultivating fully grown student leaders is a crop cycle we've been refining ever since our inception. This is especially true of our Leadership Semester Course. In this post, we'll briefly discuss benefits of the course and why it might be an alternative worth looking into. Don't be fooled, however, you'll be bombarded with information and details. Only not from us, but rather from the very people who know best: the past and present Leadership students. Their shared insights should answer questions for anyone considering the Leadership Course in the future.

Roughly a year after they finished their 65-day adventure here in Costa Rica, we thought it would be interesting to catch up with some of last year's students and see what they've been up to.

Sam Duquette's story prior to visiting Costa Rica Outward Bound is analogous to many students'. As a college dropout, he was unsure of what direction to take in life and with little expectations of how the Leadership Semester Course might remedy that, his future compass now points him down a much more defined path. As a teacher's assistant in Washington, D.C., he spends his summers off working in Portland patching up Boy Scouts - his position as the head medic at the national summer camp requires him to use the skills he learned through our Wilderness First Responder training (WFR).
"...getting the job as a medic would not have been possible without the WFR certification. Besides that, when employers look at my resume and see all the certifications I have now, it does seem to sway them in a positive way. I now know that I want to have some type of career in the outdoor field and [the Leadership Course] has made finding that type of job much easier."
Having found the Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Learning (WLEE) program at Brevard College, he plans on working in the outdoors as well as utilizing his Technical Ropes: Rescue Operation Level (TRRO) certification for day trips to the climbing rock.

Choosing to pursue more recreational adventures, Lisa Purul has spent the last year doing some incredible things. After working with us as an intern for awhile, she left for New Zealand to ride in the 400-mile Enduro Cycle Challenge bike ride and hiked throughout the South Island for a month. Most recently, she's been preparing for a trip to Nepal - just your average trek up to the Everest base camp! According to her, the Leadership Course played a significant role in shaping her decisions about what she wants to do in the future and with training in a variety of fields, she most certainly feels comfortable taking care of herself in the outdoors.

Now officially part of our team, Josh and Shelly took the course in the Fall and have since returned to work as selected interns. The newest additions to the organization, they are excited to spend some time on course again, only this time as instructors. Check out what they have to say about their own experience.

After listening to Obama's recent speech about the America's Great Outdoors initiative and posting about its implications, it will be interesting to see how our students emerge, now with more potential job opportunities related to what they learn here in Costa Rica. Hopefully their preparation will give them an advantage not only in their personal lives, but in finding work as well.

With the current Leadership Course under way, we've been posting videos, photos, and updates on our Facebook page. So if you're interested in learning about what they're up to as it's happening, be sure to check it out.


Costa Rica adventures said...

Your leadership course has helped a lot of people find their way in life. I thought leadership seminars are for becoming leader of a group, how to lead them, that sort of stuff. I believe it is more of finding your way in yourself and leading one' s self in life.

Costa Rica Outward Bound said...

Hey fellow Costa Rican outdoor enthusiasts! Thanks for finding our blog and for your input. A huge part of our mission revolves around self-improvement and yeah, our Leadership students definitely tend to learn a lot about themselves. Keep up the good work over at Costa Rica Adventures!