Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Adventures with the MORE Program by Kaitlyn Kriz

Flagship group reflecting after we hiked to the “L”
A Flagship group I had introduced to
Trail Names contemplating their
new names pictured: Trailmix, Blueberry,
Leopard Shark, Heels, Chickadee.
Not pictured: MudBud, The Sprinkler,
Wizard, Gorp, Ladybug Wrangler,
Mountain Lion, Robert.
My adventures this semester have consisted of much time spent interning with the Missoula Outdoor Recreation and Education (MORE) Program.  In my time working with the MORE Program I have done everything from program planning, assisting, and advertising, and even photographing events. I have worked with multitudes of people and programs ranging from our homeschooler after school program to working programs with a recovery center in town.

I have been learning a lot about a job that I hope to have one day and have had some great experiences. One thing I have definitely learned is that unpredictable things happen all the time and your ability to be flexible is a direct determinant of the success or failure of a program. For instance, planning a winter carnival and Nordic ski race when there actually isn’t any snow to be found, or calling your Flagship program “Winter Sports” when actually you won’t end up doing any winter sports because Winter is no longer with us; so when the kids ask when you will be going skiing you better be able to break their little hearts into a million pieces and then pick up all those pieces and glue them together with even more exciting things, or things that aren’t so exciting but seem exciting because you are acting really excited in hopes that the kids won’t call your bluff. I have learned more about flexibility this semester than I have ever experienced before. I have learned to ALWAYS have a back-up plan. 

I have learned how to better handle and work with groups of various ages, abilities and even experiences. For instance, when you unexpectedly get bitten by a kid pretending to be a zombie it is actually a good thing, it means they like you. I have also learned to NEVER stop trying to get kids to participate be themselves; and when there is a preteen who refuses to participate because they are at the age where everything is suddenly “lame” you just have to show them that it is okay to be a kid and be silly and like things by showing them that even college students like to play and are silly. Who knows, they might end up surprising you and melting your heart by telling you that they are going to be like you when they grow up.

One of those teachable moments: Flagship
group  learning about erosion and the importance of staying on the trail.
I think one of the most important things that I learned through these programs, though, was when we just simply went on a hike with the patients from the recovery center. Working with recovery center showed me further the importance of just being able to get outside and breathe the sweet air and absorb the sun rays while you can. They showed me that just getting out on a hike can be something that can ultimately save you. That day definitely inspired me to look further into wilderness therapy programs to get involved with back home.

Above: One of our Flagship after school 
programs on  our visit to the Fire Science Center 
learning about  the workings of fire tornados.
This internship directly relates to things that I have learned during my time in the Wilderness & Civilization Program. The most prominent thing being that I get so many opportunities a week to have teachable moments with children about topics discussed in Wilderness & Civilization program; everything from leave no trace ethics, to animal signs and tracking, to plant identification and botany, to just  the importance of knowing your surroundings. Even now, I can’t help but hear Professor Clow in the back of my mind and pounding tables with every new thing I do and experience. This internship has provided me with the opportunity to bring the past to the present for the future generations by giving me an outlet to renew my experiences to these future generations.   
Above: Flagship Group on a Hike. Sorry my pictures aren’t so exciting,
I don’t like using cell phones when I’m interacting with the little ones.
Lower Right: Another Flagship Group skipping rocks and just being kids at Tower Street Park.


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