By Riley Meese
Riley Meese: What are your initial thoughts about the outdoor education community at Colorado College?
Adrianna Gautreaux: The people who are a part of it? Personally, I think the whole group is very inviting. Whenever I am really excited about a trip or think about signing up for a trip, I never feel like I need a friend with me or that I am scared or concerned [because] the trips I have been on always turn out so well. I did a whitewater kayaking trip, and [it was the] best trip ever. I did the ski trip, [and it was] awesome, it made me so happy. The community is really, really strong and I do think it has a positive connotation.
RM: What would you say the characteristics are of an inclusive community?
AG: I would definitely say respect. I mean inclusivity in itself, I guess the way you can make someone feel, it’s more of a feeling to feel included rather than a thing. I would say that’s within conversation, within caring, [and] I definitely think that is something that the leaders do very well. I have never felt like a leader has [just taken] me on a trip, they always want to get to know me, they always want to know what’s going on, why I am here, what I am doing, what my life is like, so I would definitely say that inclusivity is at a high.
RM: Do you think the people who participate in or lead activities through outdoor ed are inclusive?
AG: For example, with today there were a lot of people with different backgrounds doing the trips, and I think that is something that is very important. Low cost definitely keeps [participation] a very good option for people who can’t afford to do something like that on a regular basis. Not a lot of people can go skiing, [just] because they want to go skiing. I see a lot of people taking the initiative to participate in trips that they would not necessarily do on their own.
RM: Why did you sign up for this trip?
AG: I wanted to be good at skiing and definitely have seen how people react to the topic of skiing around CC. People love to [ski]; they are so happy whenever they talk about skiing or snowboarding or being in the snow or the mountains and the nature. I am definitely the type of person that [when I see others] on a high, then I definitely want to be a part of it. Like why wouldn’t I [want to go out and ski]? Why would I want to sit in my room all day? That’s definitely why I did it—I wanted to gain some insight and make some friends, [which] I totally did.
RM: What would you tell someone else who wanted to do this exact trip?
AG: I would say do it, don’t hold back. This morning I woke up and it was 5:30 a.m. It was really early, and I was [kind of] thinking, ‘I don’t really care to go right now, I don’t really want to get out of bed. Like what’s the worst that would happen if I don’t go?’ I [sometimes get lazy] and I don’t follow through on things, which is definitely not a great thing. But I was like no, I signed up, I should go, like I will be upset about it later [if I don’t]. I am so happy [that I went] skiing on the mountain. Throughout the whole trip, I was waving my arms, so content, listening to music, dancing on my skis. I definitely think it was super beneficial. Every single [run], I rode the lift with people I had never met, and I rode with a different person every single time. The lift takes a good ten-fifteen minutes maybe. With every single person we were talking the entire time, [so] I got to know people really in depth. I think that shows the camaraderie and the community within the outdoor ed community and the people that participate in [the trips]. To anyone who’s on edge about participating in anything outdoors, if you have any inkling to do it, then you should do it, because it’s definitely worth it. I don’t think anyone goes on a trip and is like that was fine, they are always like woah, oh my gosh I did this, and it was awesome! Especially with skiing, because it was so easy—we went up, got our gear, everything was figured out, and even when we had a little hiccup during the day, it was not a big deal. The leaders were super on it and I don’t think any of the students felt like it was mismanaged or weird. It was totally perfect, honestly!
RM: Yay, awesome! Would you do it again?
AG: Oh yeah, easily, yeah easily.