Outback educates students on leadership

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The outdoor leadership minor is now in its second year and the number of students minoring in the program has doubled. According to Outback Director Philip Friesen feedback from students “has been overwhelmingly positive.”

This minor, although it is a new one, is attracting a lot of students. While the appeal at first glance may just be the association with the Outback, this minor has a lot to offer to all students.

It allows students to take charge and learn how to become leaders and actually use the leadership skills that they gain. In this minor students learn “judgment decision-making, risk management, teaching and how you can apply those in any field you are in,” said Friesen.

This minor is not only fun, but as a participant, according to Friesen, “you get to be outdoors, leading trips and facilitating discussions.”  In this way students are really getting a hands-on learning experience that will give them a leg-up in most occupational fields and make them more appealing to potential employers.

Being in the location that Pacific is in allows students to have a very unique opportunity in that they are so close to a wide variety of environments.

“Our location is in the hub, we are an hour to the sea, an hour and a half from the mountain,” explained Friesen.

This minor has a lot to offer students in terms of achievement. By the time students earn the minor they will have had the opportunity to earn either a rock climbing or a sea kayaking certification that allows students to be legally insured instructors in their fields.

One of the main focuses of the Outback and of the people in the program is expanding and increasing diversity among the participants. Freisen said that they were really trying to, “encourage anybody who is interested to dabble in people’s lives. We encourage anybody to take just a class.”

Last year, the Outback launched the Go Wild campaign in which they were trying to reach out to more students who may have previously thought that they couldn’t participate. The Outback is trying to break the idea that the “stereotype is that certain people fit into the granola, outdoors type,” said Friesen, “but we are really open to diversity.”

Even if a student didn’t have time to be able to complete the minor, students from all backgrounds are highly encouraged to either try and go on a voyage or one of the many trips that are offered or to even take just one of the classes. “Whether you consider yourself an outdoors person or not,” said Friesen, “the goal is really to have an impact on people’s lives in a positive direction.”


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