WA Instructor Development Course Reflection by Ben Elukin

My name is Ben and I was a student on this fall’s Instructor Development Course, if it wasn’t the most epic than I’d be surprised to hear what is. 50 days of amazing people exploring the sea, mountains, and ourselves, what else could we ask for? We started by heading straight to the sea for our two weeks of Kayaking in the San Juan Islands. With better weather than we could have imagined, less than twelve hours of rain on the whole section. Despite the freezing water, the sun made the daily dip in the sea very entertaining as it seemed every day was colder than the last. Arguably the best nine days were coming out of the kayak section when we headed back to base to complete our Wilderness First Responder Course. The days were spent with both hours of classroom and our best acting skills as we did simulations to test our skills.

Next we went into the mountains to continue our plethora of learning in a new environment and with new challenges.

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First mountain section completed, time for practicum, our chance to practice the skills we have been learning. Giving students from Upward Bound a small taste of the Outward Bound experience. We had also planned a day of climbing for them that they were extremely enthusiastic about. We only had 48 hours with the students so we had to make the most of it. Every Instructor Development Course student was nervous at the challenge but faced this challenge head on. As soon as the practicum students arrived the rain started, but that didn’t deter us from teaching what we had planned. We even were able to teach the students belay and climbing skills in the torrential downpour, all with the supervision of our instructors of course. With smiles on their faces, the students climbed the crag that had turned into a waterfall, proving to themselves that they can enjoy the outdoors in any conditions. We wrapped up the practicum with a close to home service project, cleaning the trials that surrounded the Outward Bound base to complete the experience. This was not the the end by far, oh no.

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Finals! The section we as a team have the most autonomy in. Performing the skills technical and teamwork skills that we have worked so very hard at. Choosing our route, delegating the logistics work amongst ourselves and completing all the pre course tasks that our instructors did for us on our prior sections. Once again we headed to the mountains to say ou goodbyes to the Northern Washington wilderness for the time being. An experience to remember forever!

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