By Lisa Gray
Spending time getting to know the natural world around you is more than worthwhile—anyone who has enjoyed rock climbing, kayaking, or hiking will attest to that—but it isn’t always easy to arrange or commit to wilderness excursions. The excuses are endless: You don’t know which trails are best, you aren’t sure what equipment canyoneering requires, you can’t find friends willing to climb with you on the weekends… The list goes on and on.
The Leadership Training Course (LTC) leaves you with no excuses. Proudly provided by UCSB Adventure Program staff (all of which are former LTC members), the course offers guided trips, equipment rentals, hands-on training, and enthusiastic friends to join you on your outdoor adventures. Physics major Jacob Staines tells us how the LTC shaped his freshman year of college and helped him make the most of all the outdoor opportunities around him.
Q: Why did you register for the LTC?
Jacob Staines: I was drawn to UCSB Adventure Programs Leadership Training Course [by the] opportunity to learn. There is so much to do out in the mountains or on the sea, you would be hard pressed to go out there and not learn. I wanted to compliment what experience I had with some professional training, as well as develop new experiences.
Q: Now that you’ve spent nearly six months with your fellow LTC-ers, you must have a lot of great memories. Do you have a favorite?
JS: One of the best parts about LTC is the inevitable development of the LTC family. One of my most profound memories from LTC was on the car ride back from our three-day canoe trip on the Colorado River. This trip took place in November, before any classroom sessions had begun. We had set out, for the most part, as complete strangers. We spent three days on the river, and came back more comfortable with each other than some of us were with our roommates.
Q: The LTC consists of an unbelievable amount of valuable hands-on and classroom instruction. Can you tell us a little about the learning experience?
JS: The learning in LTC comes in three forms.
1. First, we go out with instructors to experience the wilderness first hand. Here we learned to repel, roll kayaks, cook on a camp stove, and countless other hands-on skills and techniques.
2. Next we would take these experiences with us into the classroom, where we could break down conflicts and scenarios, discuss options, and learn how to problem solve.
3. Last, through LTC we are given the freedom to go out and use the AP gear on our own time, to further develop our experience, and to put our classroom discussions to use.
Q: Now that you’ve nearly completely the course, how would you say the LTC has changed your daily life?
JS: What I feel I have developed most drastically is my outlook that the world is out there waiting for me. If I want to spend my Thursday morning rock climbing, all it takes is a desire, some friends who share that desire, and a little planning to make it happen. LTC has helped me to develop all three of these aspects.
Q: It seems you have definitely made a lot of friends and memories. Would you say the LTC has affected your social life as well?
JS: LTC has had a greater role in my social life than any other aspect of college thus far. I have gotten to know everyone in the class on some level, and most have become very close friends. There are people from the UC, the CC, and from the surrounding residence, all of whom I can seek and interact with on my own time. Indeed, some of my closest friends were those who I first met in LTC. I feel that describing LTC as anything less than a family does not do it justice.
Q: The LTC is considered training for future UCSB Adventure Program staff. Are you considering taking that next step?
JS: I am eager to become part of AP Staff, where I will be able to develop my skills even more, develop my friendships even more, and help others to meet the same goals. Oh yeah, and have a hell-of-a-time doing it!
Q: How would you promote adventure for those who are considering adding some excitement to their life?
JS: The occasional adventure every few weeks fits very nicely into college life. If gives me something to look forward to and to seek passion in, and it gives me the chance to balance my studies with mentally and physically healthy activities. It’s a win-win.
Check out the details here or just visit the MAC to talk to current Adventure Programs staff! Take a course that will change the way you take advantage of the outdoors.