Thursday, July 19, 2012

Meet Your Instructor: Martha McCallum

Martha McCallum lives, plays and works close to nature, year-round, in the Canadian Rockies. She began her work with Outward Bound in 1982 and continues to bring a boundless enthusiasm and wealth of experience to her role. You'll enjoy her passion for exploring, her knowledge of wildlife and native medicinal plants, and her fine cuisine! 

"As a teenager I knew that I felt most alive when I was close to nature, and I wanted to live and play in the Rocky Mountains. Thirty years later, I still try my best to listen to, and follow, that inner wisdom; the place that feels right. It knows what we each need -- for our health, happiness, and deep fulfilment."

Martha's certification as an ACMG hiking guide is enriched by her experience as a mother, mountaineer, biologist, Hakomi therapist, herbalist, yoga teacher and life-long student and instructor of mindfulness practices. 

With Martha as your instructor, you will immediately feel you are in capable hands.

In this video, you'll hear Martha talk about Canmore, Alberta -- the starting place for our Mindfulness in the Mountains course -- as a site for spiritual and physical well-being.

Martha is the lead instructor of Mindfulness in the Mountains courses, and recently she has worked with our Explore and Renew courses for adults.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From the instructor's mouth: Part 5


At Outward Bound Canada, we're big believers in continuing the journey of self-discovery, even when your official trip is over. We asked Megan Kelly, Alberta Course Director, if she could recommend three ways for youth to continue growing and learning about themselves. Here are her suggestions:

1. Find a mentor that you trust. 

A mentor is someone who has similar interests, personality and passions as you, but is a few years ahead in experience and knowledge. Look around in your current circle of friends and family for someone who has a job or hobby that you could see yourself doing. Ask them out for coffee. Let them know what you're thinking of doing with your life, and how you'd like their support. By having someone available to answer questions or offer advice, you'll receive an immense amount of encouragement and confidence. Plus, your new mentor will likely find that they learn as much from you as you learn from them!

2. Push your limits: Make sure you are doing activities that bring you out of your comfort zone. 

Everyone's personal comfort zone is different. One person might be comfortable swimming out into deep, open water while another person is terrified. Another person might be nervous of public speaking, while another person feels at home with an audience. Part of the personal learning process is identifying these areas of life where you are comfortable and where you are uncomfortable. Consider what you did yesterday. Was there something that you hesitated to do? How did you overcome this hesitation or fear? How did you feel afterwards? We transform ourselves everyday, even in the smallest challenges. Feel good about it!

3. Try a solo experience

The solo is a modern version of an ancient coming-of-age ceremony, traditionally for young men, but practiced today by anyone of any age. Virtually every culture has a similar tradition that involves going alone into wild and sacred places to fast, pray and seek guidance and inspiration. It is an opportunity to reflect deeply on your life and a time to discover your sense of purpose and true gifts. Heading into the wild alone for any length of time (whether it's 2 hours or 48 hours) requires preparation, and notifying someone of where you are going. We recommend talking to others who have done solos, and reading up on how to prepare.

What ways to do you practice self-discovery and personal growth? We'd love to hear your stories, so please comment below.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Food, glorious food!

Have you signed up for a course this summer? Have you read your Welcome Package and still have questions? For specific questions, we encourage you to contact any member of staff. But if you want to know what sort of meals you'll enjoy on the trip, or roughly how heavy your pack will be, keep reading!

The Food
When it comes to meals, Outward Bound doesn't hold back. Prepared by a professional chef, we offer delicious, tasty meals prepared with fresh ingredients which are dehydrated just a couple days before the trip. How does penne with tomato sauce and ground beef sound after a hard day of hiking?

In addition to your main entrée, every meal includes hot soup and, of course, dessert!

As for breakfast, we know the importance of a healthy, carbohydrate meal to set your day off right. Expect delicious loafs or muffins with hot oatmeal or granola.

Lunches will be a variety of bagels, pitas and wraps with cheese and a selection of meats or meat alternatives. And while on the trail, we provide snack bags (we love snacks too!) with a variety of energy-packed munchies and -- you got it -- chocolate.

Your Pack
The contents and weight of your pack will vary with the course. In general, you're looking at carrying 35-40 pounds at the start of the trip. But it gets better! Because as the days go on and you keep eating, your pack gets lighter. 

Again, depending on the trip, your instructor guide will plan two to three resupplies of food throughout the duration of the trip. This minimizes the food you must carry at one time. We generally like to carry a maximum of six days of food at a time.

Remember, the Welcome Package you receive from your course instructor contains most of the info you need to know prior to the trip. But if you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask us here on the blog or email any member of staff!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Meet your instructor: Troy Patenaude

Tory Patenaude is a true 'renaissance' educator. With deep wilderness experience and the ability to move between diverse worlds make him a unique guide for participants on a quest. 

Having spent his early years growing up in the bush, it's no surprise Troy is now an ACMG-certified guide. He also operates a family-run eco-tourism lodge! When he's not guiding for Outward Bound, Troy handles the practical work of building log homes, fixing solar power systems and tackling the various tasks required to maintain a remote, off-the-grid wilderness centre.  

Troy is also well known in international, academic circles as a leading scholar of the 18th century poet and artist, William Blake

Strongly connected to his Métis heritage, Troy has a gift for helping his course participants feel at home in wild places and for guiding them through their own inner journeys of self-discovery. This summer, Troy will be guiding Life Compass Odyssey in August and Mountain Passages for Boys -- which departs in just five days!

Will Troy be your instructor? Enroll today!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meet your instructor: Laurie Skreslet

This week, we send off our first summer session of the Mountain Discovery course! And leading this group of 17-18 year olds through the Rocky Mountains is Laurie Skreslet -- the first Canadian to climb Mt Everest.

Years before Laurie's current crew was even born (1982, to be precise), Laurie summited Mt. Everest. But this guy isn't just a three-decade professional mountaineer. He's also an inspirational speaker, and Laurie excels at helping youth face challenges and step into adulthood.

Laurie credits the Outward Bound course he took as a young man with instilling a deep sense of tenacity and resilience that has remained with him throughout his life. Still actively leading mountain courses after 40 years as an instructor, Laurie brings an unmatched wealth of experience, passion and insight to his work with participants. 

Laurie will also be leading the August session of Mountain Adventure

Check out this inspirational video Laurie put together for businesses, but which we think is just as appropriate for you as an individual. (We also love his sunglasses.)

Happy travels, friends!