The Leadership Program is the cornerstone of our organization. Through an application and interview process, we select promising teens from our other two programs to participate in an intensive, year-long training that provides them with the skills necessary to instruct and mentor program participants. The program promotes each individual’s natural leadership strengths while providing tangible academic, emotional and social support. After completing their training, candidates teach and mentor their peers through a paid internship. We continue to monitor these young leaders as they balance their part-time jobs at Outdoor Outreach, college classes, financial independence and the challenges of moving into the world as working adults.
Ryan Hudson is a 7 year veteran at Outdoor Outreach. During the summer he is a full time Surf Instructor, but has spent the last three winters in the mountains of Utah working at a ski lodge and snowboarding every day with the dream of becoming a professional snowboarder. Last January he took a step toward realizing his dream entering The North Face Masters of Snowboarding Competition at Snowbird Ski Resort. Below Ryan shares the experience in his own words.
In January, I competed in my first ever Big Mountain Snowboarding Competition called “The North Face Masters of Snowboarding.” I was competing alongside some of the biggest names in the business; Travis Rice, Rob Kingwill, Mark Carter, Ralph Backstrom, Ryland Bell, and so many more. There were a total of 76 male athletes, and I placed 17th! I was also given “The North Face Masters Young Gun Award”. “The North Face Masters Young Gun Award recognizes riders under the age of 25 that demonstrate raw talent and innovation in their riding style. Young Gun award recipients embody the big mountain riding culture and are the future of the sport. I was stoked to know that I had placed high among some of the best riders in the world!
My original goal was to place top 30 and move on with my life; I would have been pleased with 28th even 30th but, to my surprise I rose way above my own bar! It is the first trophy I had ever won for anything in my entire life. I wanted to cry on the podium. Crushing a goal you set for yourself is an accomplishment worth achieving.
As a member of the Crawford High School Adventure Club, Idris has taken on a leadership role, serving as President of the club and as an assistant instructor on trips. Valedictorian of his class, Idris has already been accepted to Vanderbilt, Northwestern, UCLA, UC Berkely, UCSD and University of Pennsylvania.
“The attitude of the people is to help you; they’re not going to tell you what to do. They aren’t going to be like a teacher. They let you explore. A lot of the time peole tell me to do things and I have to listen or get punished. At Outdoor Outreach they tell me to just have fun so there is not much of a worry I can just relax and be myself. If I wasn’t involved in Outdoor Outerach I wouldn’t be as confident as I am right now.”