Two National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) instructors recently guided an international group of high school students on a 16-day custom outdoor education program in the Alaskan wilderness.
The teens, all of whom were enrolled in a youth leadership program in South Korea, got their first introduction to Alaska’s glaciers, jagged mountain ranges, coastal islands and mudflats as their flights neared the airport for Day One of their adventure. Stepping off the plane, the teens immediately grabbed their backpacks and headed out toward uninhabited remote wilderness.
NCOAE course director and lead field instructor Matt Seats said the students had mentally prepared themselves for 10 days of backpacking, route finding and living in the wild. Following a week of wilderness medicine training and some basic training in how to live and travel safely in the wilderness, the group was ready to start their adventure.
Though each of them had their own set of apprehensions, the students arrived at one of their first destinations by foot hours sooner than expected, which prompted these novice explorers to literally dance, jumping and shouting at the top of their lungs in joy about their accomplishment.
That evening they enjoyed the hypnotic effects of a sweetly scented campfire, fueled by the steady Alaskan wind in a dry riverbed. For some of these teens, it was the first campfire they had ever built.
The backdrop for this adventure — Wrangell-St. Elias National Park — is the least visited national park in the United States, and it’s where our group of teen adventurers found themselves 10 miles into the (more…)
Months of planning and organizing have brought success! We recently completed our first program abroad — an expedition to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal with a group of South Korean high school teens.
South Korea-based Apex Global Leadership Center (AGLC) joined with us for this adventure-based spring break program that emphasized leadership education. Traveling in the Annapurna region of Nepalthe adventure included our very own Stephen Mullaney as lead instructor, Matt Seats as course director and assistant instructor, and Matt Evans, an assistant instructor who joined as expedition videographer. Sean Hill, founder of Apex, also participated and instructed. This NCOAE custom program delivered beginner-level leadership and outdoor technical skills training with world-class views and cultural sharing.
The students and our instructors flew in from around the globe and met in Kathmandu, where they were driven to a teahouse just in time for dinner. After a night of shopping the Kathmandu markets for backpacking food and breakfast the next morning, the team went back to the airport and on to Pokhara four hours to the north and west. Following a late lunch at a lakeside guesthouse, the students (more…)
In this day and age, when practically anyone with a Smartphone can publish a video online, we tend to take a lot of things for granted. For example, consider our latest video (see below) for the National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE).
At first glance, this video has all the appearance of having been created on an iPhone, but don’t be fooled. That look is intentional because while great video footage looks effortless to conceptualize and create, it’s anything but.
That’s why we’re so proud of our affiliation with outdoor and adventure videographer, Matt Evans, who also just so happens to be an assistant instructor here at NCOAE. Matt graduated from college with a pair of degrees — one in filmmaking, and the other in business administration. And while both have served him well over the years, it’s the film degree that’s proven to be highly beneficial to NCOAE.
Here’s that video he created for us, and below that is our interview with Matt, focusing on the challenges and opportunities associated with shooting outdoor education video footage:
NCOAE: What are some of the challenges of shooting video footage in the backcountry?
Matt Evans: The challenges when dealing with shoots like the ones I handled for NCOAE were numerous and varied, and included finding lightweight cameras and equipment, having the proper physical space to get the shot, dealing with weather, and making sure you have an ample supply of batteries.
NCOAE: Let’s start with the batteries. How did you manage that?
Matt: When I was planning the trips that went into the creation of the video you see above (two separate 12- and eight-day trips), I knew there was no possible way to charge or change out batteries, or upload footage from the CF cards in the camera. So I actually brought six batteries into the backcountry, along with 200 GB of memory. In order to keep the batteries fresh and not waste any space, I favored shoots that were (more…)