Largest Class of Trip Leaders to Date Selected by SUU Outdoors

Following an informational seminar held at Base Camp, a group of students submitted their applications and outdoor experience logs and awaited to hear if they would be selected for SUU Outdoors’ Basic Outdoor Leadership Training or BOLT.

Keith Howells, Assistant Director of SUU Outdoors, has confirmed that the applicants selected have turned out to be the largest ever to enter the BOLT program

At the seminar meeting, Howells initially informed the candidates at the seminar that between six to eight individuals were desired as new trip leaders.

However, Howells alongside SUU Outdoors Coordinator Levi Pendleton, found narrowing down a group of such qualified candidates more difficult than previously anticipated.

The result? 10 students were ultimately accepted to the BOLT program:

Lauren Nickell, Evelyn Zavala, Baylee Moyer, Courtney Shively, Vishal Shukla, Tamra Hunt, Brinly Harward, Aaron Dockins, Reyce Knutson and a previously accepted applicant Lance Smrstick.

Despite assuming roles as leaders in the outdoors, these students come from a variety of majors, including business, geology, and communication.

20191104_205424_HDRThe first BOLT session took place on November 4, where the class was instructed on leadership styles and the process of planning an outdoors trip, of which each leader is required to plan two a semester.

Howells and Pendleton also ensure that per-industry standards and competencies are completed for leaders preparing for their trips.

“We’re constantly training, keeping our skills fresh. So in addition to the recreation [we’re] doing on [our] own we’re doing a lot of in-house training here,” Pendleton said.

Much of the specialized training for trips such as rock-climbing or canyoneering is informal meetings that take place at various times between the trip leader and the instructors.

“We are responsible for people out there, taking them to places and facilitating these experiences so we want to make sure we’re not just at the recreational level,” Pendleton said.

The seminar emphasized that being a trip leader involves a little more than just being passionate about certain outdoor activities.20191104_205616_HDR

“We’re going above and beyond and we’re now at a level to be an instructor or a guide or facilitator,” Pendleton said, “and that takes a different mindset and skill set than just being, say, a rock climber or a river rafter.”

Benefits to the trip leaders include free access to SUU Outdoors gear, funding for industry certifications, and enhanced technical and leadership skills in the outdoors.

This class will be assisting on trips planned for the upcoming spring 2020 semester, and devising trips of their own for the following fall semester. 

Information concerning SUU Outdoors’ trip series can be obtained online at SUU Outdoors and at Base Camp in the Sharwan Smith Student Center.

Story and Photos by: Reyce Knutson