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Meet the Trailblazers

Students in the OL program venture off the beaten path—and have unique stories to tell.


HOMETOWN: Chattanooga, TN

Other YHC Involvements: rock climbing wall staff in the Recreation and Fitness Center, informally lead student-organized climbing and kayaking trips 
I choose outdoor leadership because of… my lifelong love for the outdoors. 
Being an outdoor leadership major at YHC rocks because… of the experiential elements incorporated into our program and the very hands-on approach to education. 
My favorite thing about YHC is… the small town feel and the location, especially considering my field of study. It is a central hub for accessing many outdoor adventure areas.
My favorite memory/moment (so far) is… learning more about ways to pass along the knowledge I have gained this far in my outdoor career. The things I like the most are climbing, kayaking and slack lining. 
My future plans are… finding work in the outdoor field. YHC has prepared me by giving me the necessary people skills and technical skills necessary to do this.
I have already gained experience in my field by… working in Colorado on a dude ranch and working in Italy this summer on an orchard and farm.














Hometown: Lindale, Ga.

Other YHC Involvements: competitive cheerleading team member, peer mentor, resident assistant, Inter-Religious Council member, Student Athlete Advisory Committee member, Phi Alpha Phi sorority, Alpha Xi fraternity
Being an outdoor leadership major at YHC rocks because... I have never been able to sit still in school. I longed for hands-on activities and found myself becoming bored in class until becoming an outdoor leadership major. I am an experiential learner, and this major gives me the freedom to work in the outdoors. There's nothing like it!
My favorite courses are… "Tree Climbing" and "Appalachian Trail." I knew hardly anything about either of them before taking the classes, and now they are two of the things I am most passionate about.
My favorite memory/moment (so far) is... my first night spent in the woods. You'd think since declaring this major I would be an avid camper and outdoor enthusiast, but I knew nothing about the outdoors. I remember sitting quietly under the stars, with the silhouette of the Blue Ridge Mountains all around me, and realizing in that moment that it was the first time I had ever just sat and appreciated the beauty around me. It was magical.
I have already gained experience in my field by… traveling to Chugiak, Alaska, to work as a lifeguard and lead facilitator on the challenge course at a camp. 
My favorite outdoor pursuit is… hiking. Although I am not the best and I find myself initially dreading the climb, I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment I get when I reach the top of a mountain. It's exhilarating. 
My future plans are…  working with children as an outdoor therapist or camp director. After that, the greater picture would be seeing the world and doing as much backpacking as possible.  

HOMETOWN: Lakeland, Fla.

Other YHC Involvements: Spat Club President, Student Government Association Vice President, Inter-Religious Council member, Student Conduct Council member, peer mentor, START Orientation Leader
Being an outdoor leadership major at YHC rocks because... Is this even a question? The name alone baits you into wanting to learn more--and learning more is exactly what will happen.  
My favorite courses are... religion classes. They challenge students as well as provoke ideas and concepts. They are some of the harder courses I've taken, but I believe that what you put in is what you get out.     
My favorite memory/moment (so far) is… being a START Leader. It has truly had a positive impact in my life. Meeting all the incoming students along with the friendships made during the experience makes for an amazing experience.  
I have already gained experience in my field by… working as a mentor to troubled teens.  
My favorite outdoor pursuit is… hard to pinpoint. Nature is an amazing place to be in and around, and if I had to pick one, it would have to be anything with a group dynamic. The best way to enjoy nature is with others. 
My future plans are… focusing on getting my doctorate in counseling and therapy. My goal it to work with struggling kids that need to  be pointed in a positive direction.