A number of the students on the Sierra Nevada College campus go on incredible adventures either through the Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) program, through events run by the Sierra Nevada College staff or adventures they create on their own. While the ODAL program is a vastly popular program on campus, some students and the community have no idea just the kinds of adventures these students take on.
On April 15, five ODAL students presented their adventure stories in the first ever Outdoor Leadership symposium held at SNC. ODAL Program Director Rosie Hackett welcomed the audience with a short opening introduction.
“We want to know what you (the students) have been doing. We do some pretty cool trips in ODAL, but you all do even radder adventures on your own,” said Hackett. “This is our opportunity to have our students showcase what they have done.”
Junior Stephen Van Den Hoogen, Senior Casey Gordon and Senior April Agranoff, Senior Carl Wernhoff and Senior Erica Nelson were the featured presenters. Their adventures included skiing in Alaska, backpacking in Argentina, the journey of working as a raft guide, internships in rock climbing and fly-fishing and lessons from getting lost in Alaska.
Senior and ODAL student Scout Sorcic was approached by Hackett and ODAL instructor Daryl Teittinen about creating a symposium while she was preparing her own presentation for a conference over winter break.
The ODAL students have never been given a platform in the past to talk about their adventures. These presentations were both a way to show-off the activities students have been doing and to bring the department closer together.
“Many people see ODAL 101 and 201 and don’t really know where to go from there on their own,” said Sorcic. “This shows what students can do and also brings the entire ODAL tribe together to put names to faces for newer students.”
With the success of this event, plans for the next symposium are currently aiming for either fall or spring.
Major: Global Business Management
Hometown: Redwood City, CA
What is it that brought you to Sierra Nevada College?
I needed to be in a place with ample outdoor recreation options, because that is such a vital part of my life. I did a Google search for “colleges for outdoor enthusiasts” and I found this one. Once I found out it was interdisciplinary/liberal arts focused where I could pick and choose from different programs, it was entrepreneurship and ODAL that solidified it for me. Which is ironic, considering I’m not majoring in either of those anymore.
What inspired your participation in the Sustainability Department?
I have spent the last few years living in the mountains, and I realized how important the environment is for those communities, especially when you live in more of a ski town. When I was out in Colorado, I lived in Vail for a few years, I started paying attention to what we were doing to the water and just to the surrounding environment. I thought that’s pretty neat and saw that Sustainability was an up and coming field, to get jobs in. I thought that it would be really interesting to learn about even if it’s not the career path that I choose, because it includes things that you can implement into your daily life. And so, coming here and having that be a major, and knowing that I could just learn what it means to be sustainable. Then, my mind was blown when I learned about Social Sustainability, because I didn’t even think about that before I got here. I started thinking holistically about the term, the environment and the people.
How do you integrate Sustainability with Global Business?
That’s a very interesting question…. And it’s a continuous battle. You know, in Global Business we talk about globalization a lot, the pros and cons of that and how it affects communities around the world. It’s definitely evident that globalization can be harmful to society and to the environment, especially with small, marginalized communities who don’t have as much say or power. I want to figure out how to bring all of that together, to where people planet and profit can all be a thing. This ’triple bottom line’, sustainability, is a code that really hasn’t been cracked yet. But what I find fascinating is trying to figure out how you could be entrepreneurial and come up with a business idea that solves a real problem, but actually addresses a true need where it can help people at the end of the day. Where it’s not focused around consumerism and taking advantage of people just to make a buck, but where you can still be sustainable from a monetary standpoint.
BY NATALIE CLARK POSTLES
The canyon is filled with smoke making it a struggle, dangerous even, for anyone in the area to breathe. As the King Fire burns just up from the South Fork of the American River, Sierra Nevada College students enrolled in the Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) intro class prepare to begin their whitewater rafting guide course just outside of Coloma, California.
It is Saturday, Sept. 20, and the ODAL class is a day behind schedule. The class arrived a few hours ago due to the high levels of air toxicity in the area, and the question on everyone’s mind is simple: Will we be river rafting today? Or will we turn around and go home because of the low air quality?
Water was released from the dam late Saturday morning shortly after our arrival on the river, later than the normal Friday release. Whether this is due to the fire or other causes is still unknown, but the SNC students continue on with their preparation to raft down the South Fork, many for the first time ever. We had quite the range of experience on our trip, ranging from students with little to no experience to others that had worked previous summers as whitewater guides, making it a beneficial teaching and learning experience for students of all levels.
As we got closer to embarking on our trip down the river one of the guides, and ODAL professor Daryl Teittinen prepared for what was about to come: level two, three, and on our final day three plus rapids. Easy enough for any beginner, yet entertaining enough for anyone with a bit of experience and an awesome opportunity to help fellow students learn. The SNC class came within 15-30 miles of from the fire, a comfortable distance; with the winds blowing the smoke from the fire in opposite direction and out of the canyon not only making the trip more enjoyable, but possible.
As said by Lynn Noel in her book Voyages: Canada’s Heritage Rivers, “the first river you paddle runs through the rest of your life. It bubbles up in pools and eddies to remind you who you are.” While many of us were questioning if the trip would even happen, we pulled through, and many people left with a trip that will “run through” the rest of their lives, whether it was their first or not.
BY CALHOUN BOONE
The weekend of Oct. 10 -12, the Sierra Nevada College 201 Outdoor Adventure Leadership, ODAL, class went on a field expedition to the Carson River where they hiked for three days over the terrain of a popular white water rafting run.
“As an avid whitewater rafter myself, it was awesome to hike the river bed of a river that I have rafted with my family before, and to see the skeleton of the river bottom with very little water in it,” said one ODAL student.
The Carson River is undammed above the section that the ODAL class hiked, so there was very little water left from last season, making it shallow and easy to travel across by foot.
The trip consisted of 21 river miles that the class traveled with only the guidance of a series of topographic maps. Because the ODAL 201 Leadership course focuses primarily on individual leadership skills, ODAL Program Director Rosie Hackett, left it up to the class to map out their own route while she sat back and followed her student’s lead.
“There was no distinct trail to follow and nothing to show us which way to go other than the river and our maps, so it was awesome to get to practice our map reading skills and really helped all of us as students gain competence in our toolbox of outdoor skills,” said ODAL student Jake McIntyre.
By Rebekah Ashley
Scout Sorcic, an Outdoor Adventure Leadership(ODAL) and Ski Business / Resort Management major, grew up in Leadville, Colorado. It was there that she discovered her passion for outdoor education that brought her to Sierra Nevada College.
“Growing up in Colorado there were a lot of scholarships for outdoor education courses offered to local students. I did an Outward Bound course, a NOLS course, a course with the Women’s Wilderness Institute and eventually ended up at the High Mountain Institute my junior year of high school,” Sorcic said.
The High Mountain Institute offered Sorcic a semester of classes and backpacking with a focus on leadership skills.
“It was there that I decided I really liked the idea of outdoor education,” Sorcic said.
During her time at Sierra Nevada College, Sorcic has been an active leader on campus and in the Tahoe community. She collaborated with the nonprofit organization, She Jumps, to create a scholarship that allows female SNC students to take the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education Level 1 course for free.
“Scout created a partnership with She Jumps, a non-profit organization. She’s on fire! She is making things happen on campus,” said her advisor, Interdisciplinary Studies Chair Katie Zanto.
In addition to her work with She Jumps, Sorcic rallied to get a group of ODAL students to attend the Western Regional Outdoor Leadership Conference that will happen in January 2015. This was just one case that demonstrated her passion towards outdoor education and helped her stand out to faculty such as Rosie Hackett, director of Outdoor Adventure Leadership.
“Scout is a stellar student,” Hackett said. “She understands that learning does not start nor end in the classroom. She understands that learning is most successful when it is authentic, and that learning takes initiative and a whole lot of courage to get uncomfortable.”
In March of every year, students are encouraged to apply for the position of Wilderness Orientation (WO, pronounced:Whoa) leader. While many applicants are Interdisciplinary Studies majors with either a concentration or minor in Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL), openings are not limited to this degree. Wilderness Orientation is a hands-on opportunity for students to showcase their competency as outdoor leaders while fostering relationships with incoming students.
WO leaders offer a great experience to new students every fall before school officially begins. While the new students undergo an exciting adventure, student leaders grow and learn as well. Not only do the leaders mature into their own style, but they also have the opportunity to create intentional communities within Sierra Nevada College.
Have you ever caught yourself glaring with envy at paddle boarders who seem to glide effortlessly across the lake? Thanks to a joint collaboration between Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) Instructor Daryl Teittinen and Dean of Students Will Hoida, students can now rent paddle boards, financed by the student activities fund, to use for fun in their spare time from the gear room free of charge.
All too often incoming students preparing for their Wilderness Orientation trip or for their first Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL) trip assume backcountry cooking means yucky and simple food. Through years of experience, ODAL Program Director Rosie Hackett explains that you do not have to sacrifice quality or style in backcountry cooking.
Daryl Teittinen wakes up in the morning on a gorgeous day and either throws on a pair of Garmont Radium ski boots, Chaco sandals, or La Sportiva TC Pro climbing shoes. Such choices are for a typical day out in the wilderness for Teittinen, adjunt professor of Outdoor Adventure Leadership (ODAL). Teittinen started working at Sierra Nevada College in January 2012, helping out with the Outdoor Skills 101 class, and now works as the main instructor for the class.