Press the play button above, and read this quick entry. This story is about EA’s first contract, a metaphor for weathering the storms associated with being a “small business owner”, and a true story of being evacuated out of a tropical storm. In 2004, Experiential
Adventures was alive inside of my mind and on a homemade web page. I was working at Texas Tech University, and longing for a daily view of the mountains and snow. After two years of saving, scheming, and planning, I notified my supervisors that I was leaving TTU to pursue private enterprise.
Thus, in 2005, I promptly moved into a van.At the time, strategic planning was really just my way to decide where I was going to park the van to sleep. At the time, a business plan was “it feels right” or I might be able to by a new rope and some cans of refried beans. All I knew was that Experiential Adventures LLC, had the potential to be a life long journey that could open new experiences and opportunities.
So, in May 2005 I was parked on the side of the road in the old Volkswagen Westfalia wondering how I was going to pay my student loan payments, and why I thought that the safety of a University job could possibly be inferior to living the dream as a “small business” owner. At that moment, I received a call from a college in the northeast asking me to do some work for them. The best part was that it paid. And so it began, after having had Experiential Adventures for over a year, we finally had a contract.
The story was presented at Story Story Night in Boise, Idaho on July 28, 2011. The theme that evening was Water: Stories of going with or against the flow. This experience demonstrates why strategic planning, risk management, and financial planning is essential. EA survived its first contract to grow and expand into a vibrant company. While we believe in the importance of planning, we understand that, at times, luck has something to do with it!
Tropical storm Arlene, made landfall on June 12th, 2005. It occurred extremely early in the hurricane season, and was one of several including Hurricane Katrina. It had sustained winds of about 60mph, and escaping the beautiful islands of the Gulf Coast National Seashore was beyond our abilities. Please listen to the story!
Staff who train together, play together, and work together tend to who have amazing cultures. The University of Wyoming Outdoor Program is an example of a group of people with different backgrounds and views who have created a powerful culture on their campus. The leaders who work at the OP will graduate and go on to be history teachers, geophysicists, environmental scientists, and outdoor professionals and each one will be forever impacted by the leadership opportunities provided by the OP. So what is it about the University of Wyoming Outdoor Program that creates such amazing leadership opportunities?
It is simple. Effective leadership only develops when the decisions being made are not trivial and will
impact others. Other leadership training programs focus on theory, but this program combines theory with significant practical application. Leaders emerge when real and consequential decisions have to be made – the moment when autonomy and empowerment collide. Leaders realize their capabilities the moment when the decisions matter.
Experiential Adventures LLC joined the UW Outdoor Program at Vedauwoo Rocks just east of Laramie, WY. EA provided an American Mountain Guide Association Single Pitch Instructor Course to the OP staff at their semi-annual training program. As with many outdoor trainings, the overt outcomes were simple. To learn improved teaching and guiding techniques in the single pitch environment, and to provide even better experiences to participants. However, it is the secondary outcomes that EA enjoys.
Using technical trainings to enhance organizational culture can be powerful. First, many of the leaders will go on to be extremely successful in their field of expertise and may not use the technical skills learned in this course again. Yet, the confidence gained from building anchor systems that are complex, safe, and secure will transfer into other discipline specific environments. Additionally, the human connection associated with trusting one another to perform raises, lowers, and rescues on each other should not be underestimated. As technology continues to advance and move our world forward, there is still something powerful about the trust created from human interaction in natural environments.
EA enjoys working with organizations that believe in the power of community as an essential component of risk management. Organizations that have staff, who are passionate about what they do and are competent leaders, are generally successful. And….that is why the University of Wyoming Outdoor Program is successful!