Thursday, June 7, 2012

From the instructor's mouth: Part 2

Yesterday, we introduced you to our Alberta Course Director, Megan Kelly. And she's still waiting to answer any questions you might have about a summer youth course!

In the meantime, here are a few tips from the lady herself.

For new Outward Bound participants, its common to feel nervous and excited. How should they prepare for their first trip?

I definitely recommend doing some kind of physical training. Carrying a heavy backpack through the mountains is difficult at the best of times! More importantly, you should be mentally prepared for an adventure that will be strenuous and rewarding.

What are some good ways to prepare, both physically and mentally?

Get walking! It's important to get your feet use to carrying some weight for long distances. 

Try walking to the library, the grocery store, or your friend's place across town instead of catching a ride. Start with 30 minute walks, and work up to an hour and more. You'll also want to carry a pack on your back. Maybe even the one you've borrowed for the trip! Carry your lunch, books, extra clothing, and water to get an idea of what it will feel like. Make sure to do up that waist belt too, so you don't stress out your shoulders. 

Oh, and maybe leave the iPod at home. Going earphone-free will let you take in the sights and sounds of your urban environment while you can. You're going to notice some interesting differences when you're in the mountains!

As a former instructor, and now a director of courses, how do you feel prior to a trip?

I know that before I leave for an exciting trip I have a combination of nerves and excitement. I am always worried that I will forget something or that the trip won't go as I imagined. However, the more I go on adventures in the mountains, the more I realize that you can never prepare for everything! It is best just to relax, remember that there will always be unknowns, and that all journeys are different for everyone.

At what point in the trip do these feelings change?

I know that as soon as I'm in the wilderness, I can relax and enjoy the time away from all the 'business' of life. 

When does the nervousness ease for participants?

I usually see participants relax and start to feel comfortable after the first night, once everyone has figured out where they are sleeping and what they are eating. Also, after a few group activities, people start to get to know each other and begin to form friendships, and trust.

Have any other questions for Megan? Post them below, on Facebook, or tweet us, @OutwardBoundCan!

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