By Lydia Olson
For a lot of full time workers, skills like interpersonal communication, team work, time management and organization are necessary for day to day work. At The Outdoor Campus, I definitely use these skills but I found out real fast that my skill-set would be much different than expected. Working outdoors with a lot of different ages, especially children, I knew I would have to switch gears from previous work environments. Even though I had prepared myself for this change in pace, I was still surprised by the unique and specific skills I had to use almost every day at TOC. I learned a lot this summer and I want to share with the world my Top 10 Skills that have come in handy for me while working at The Outdoor Campus.
- Fish Cleaning
When I was younger, my great uncle taught me how to clean fish. I love to clean fish, but I never imagined that I would actually teach children and adults this skill someday. Teaching fish cleaning has been quite the experience, especially with children. When you have 5-7 kids all at once, holding knives, it can make you a little nervous. Once it was all said and done, seeing the proud smiles of these kids made it super rewarding, and definitely worth the stress.
2. Setting up a huge archery net alone with gusting winds
My very first day working here I was taught how to set up the archery range for class. I was thinking, “this net can’t be that heavy”, but oh boy was I wrong. I actually learned that it takes two people to put up this net, and it is still a little challenging. So you can imagine what I was feeling putting the net up by myself in what felt like a tornado.
3. Dodging hooks while fishing with children
Anyone who works with children will tell you it is hard work. Now add fishing hooks; this is a whole new level of dangerous. When I teach younger children to fish I always say “if you want me to put the bait on for you I will, but you have to wait in line”. Well usually there is never a line that is actually formed (it is more like a cluster of children fighting their way to the front to get their hooks baited). I think I have become a pro at dodging hooks this summer; I’ve had a lot of practice. Now it is time for me to practice dodging fish, kids still do not know how to keep those away from my face.
4. Being able to fix a fishing pole in under 2 minutes
Knowing how to fix a fishing pole is a great advantage to have while working here, but an even bigger advantage is being able to do it in less than two minutes. We have a lot of fishing classes here and with those classes come a lot of broken poles. Fixing each pole under two minutes enables me to move onto the next task quickly.
5. Wood Burning
One of the other interns introduced me to wood burning; she was making signs for the classroom doors. At the time it looked so easy, I was excited to try it. Well it is actually quite difficult to do. I have gradually gotten a little better, but my skills are in need of some improvement. I have come a long way, but I am nowhere close to being a pro.
6. Flipping Kayaks
Whenever I go kayaking, whether it is here at TOC or on a river elsewhere, I am highly skilled in flipping kayaks over. If you ever find yourself tipped over in the water, I am the one to call. But if I don’t answer, call one of the other interns. Ha.
7. Understand all types of jokes; aka Derek jokes
Here at TOC we like to have a lot of fun. There are quite a few odd jokes that circulate through the group, but no matter how awkward they are, these jokes always make us smile. Here are just a few jokes that have stuck with the group.
Hum.. you’d be good at Plinko
*Speaking to a CPR dummy* Wow, tastes like pepperoni pizza
8. Conquering your fear on a daily basis. AKA not screaming when seeing snakes.
Whenever I see a snake, I am easily frightened. I don’t think it is entirely because of the snake, but the actual surprise of seeing them that gets me every time. I know they do good things to the environment and I wouldn’t wish harm on them, but when they come slithering by me it takes every ounce of me not to jump and scream. I have finally reached that point where I don’t freak out when I see them, but it came one class too late.
9. Be able to catch the frog on the first time in the aquarium
At The Outdoor Campus we teach a lot frog classes. We like to bring out live frogs to show the kids. But, did you know frogs are super slimy and quite difficult to catch? Our frog has escaped many times and trying to catch it can be somewhat stressful. But if you are like me and are able to catch the frog on the first escape, you are succeeding in life.
10. Using a ratchet strap
Before working here I was able to use a ratchet strap it would just take me a second to remember how it works. Well after having to use one a lot I have the skills to just pick it up hook it all up and strap whatever needs to be strapped down.