Gratitude is most often used as a noun, describing as it does, the feeling of being thankful. This warm and comforting word is often bandied about during the holidays, when we reflect upon all of the things for which we are grateful. But for some of us — and in particular, many of our staff members here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) — we treat the word gratitude as a verb.
Great employees often live in gratitude by taking positive action. And that means being present for others, which includes listening to their issues or desires and connecting with them. It also means becoming the person that someone else is grateful for.
Just before the holidays truly got underway, we asked some of our staff members to list just some of the things for which they were most grateful. We’re not the least bit surprised that some of their comments encompassed our students and fellow staffers.
Here’s their take on gratitude, in their own words: (more…)
Here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) you can find us toiling year-round to bring our students and clients the very best in guided outdoor adventures with meaning. So, as far as our staff is concerned, we’re always in the “getting ready mode” for outings in the wilderness.
But as we approach our busiest time of the year, we’d like to pose some questions for our seasonal participants:
- What are you doing to get ready?
- What does it mean to be ready?
- Can we ever really be ready?
Let’s distill outdoor preparedness into three categories, Physical, Emotional and Gear.
Physical: Lounging on the couch with a belly covered with unnaturally orange Cheetos dust while watching 180 Degrees South: Conquerors of the Useless for the 100th time might suggest it’s time to get busy getting fit before you head out on a course.
Whether that entails short hikes with heavy bags, bike rides across town, hitting the gym or some distance running, it’s entirely up to you to decide what works. Just know this. Time’s ticking and the first summer excursions are less than the turn of a monthly calendar page away.
Emotional: So you’ve been hiking, biking and swimming and you’re feeling like you’re getting your mojo back. Swell. Now it’s time to prepare mentally for what lies in store on the trail.
Take a moment. Close your eyes and picture your favorite course area. It’s easy to recall the bucolic views, pristine settings, and warm campfires at night. But they say pain has no memory. Now think about an unrelenting sun beating down on you, or a trip that featured nothing but rain, day and night. Your gear and body are getting funky, you’re exhausted. And when you look around, you notice your fellow course mates appear to have been (more…)
Nothing makes us happier here at The National Center for Outdoor & Adventure Education (NCOAE) than meeting up with three busloads of seventh and eighth graders in a wilderness area and then teaching them about how to get along in an outdoor setting — in this case Joshua Tree National Park with its breathtaking sandstone rock formations monuments.
Last month, a group of our instructors from both the East and West Coasts participated in a three-day outing with 123 students from the famed Wildwood School in Los Angeles. These youngsters participated in what they and their teachers described afterwards as an incredible experience.
Our co-founder and director of operations, Celine Adair, was there and said these “super smart Wildwood students,” joined 34 adults in setting up 52 tents in a base camp that became a theater of sorts, complete with two special sunsets, seven great meals, an orchestra performance by about a dozen coyotes each night, and topped off with a full-moon lunar eclipse with a few shooting stars tossed into the astronomical mix.
During the three-day outing, the Wildwood group participated in environmental studies, including learning the phases of the moon — very appropriate for the eclipse — local ecology and water use conservation.
They also broke up into smaller groups to learn about levels of communication, stages of relationships, and to discuss the best ways to identify and discuss feelings. Finally, they also learned outdoor skills, such as setting up a shelter, keeping warm, fire safety, hydration, hygiene and how to get found if lost.
Wildwood’s staff tells us they were (more…)