From Outdoor Educator to Sea Kayaking in Alaska

by Claire Marshalek

Growing up I spent endless hours trekking through my grandparent’s woods. I imagined I was Alice from Alice and Wonderland trying to find the rabbit hole, other times I was Eliza Thornberry looking for endangered species in the creek. As a kid, I was lucky enough to experience life outside. Today my love for the outdoors continues to grow. 

A little over two years ago I started as an Outdoor Educator (formerly Trip Leader Specialist) with Venture Outdoors, it was here my passion for Environmental Education flourished. Being able to play outside and call that my job is incredible, however, that’s not the only thing that sparked my passion. The youth programs I lead have inspired me to view our Earth in a new way. 

Every time I work with kids, I learn something new. They influence my perspective and understanding, they spark curiosity and wonder. I feel so inspired when I see kids enjoying their time outside and questioning the world around them. As we grow up, we tend to forget about curiosity and wonder. We forget how fun it is to run around and learn new things. As an Outdoor Educator, I realized we are never too old to wonder about the world, we are never too old to go on a nature scavenger hunt or build a shelter for ants. When kids can play outside, they grow in so many ways; their creativity blooms, their curiosity peaks, and they can feel free. 

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a bird so I could fly around and see everything that was going on below me, when kids spend time outside, they are free to be whatever they want. For me, freedom in the outdoors has inspired many aspects of my life. As I get ready to graduate from college with a Degree in Environmental Studies, I am open to what the world has to offer. 

In April, I will begin a new journey to Alaska where I will work as a Wilderness Guide providing remote outdoor experiences for many different people. I will lead Sea Kayaking trips through the Kenai Peninsula where I will have the ability to teach everyone about the natural wonders. I will share experiences with others like watching baby orcas breach the surface, or seeing glaciers retreat into land under the summer sun. While I won’t directly be working with kids, I will always carry their sense of curiosity and wonder as they have inspired me to go out of my comfort zone and explore. 

As an Outdoor Educator, I have learned so many invaluable skills. My co-educators have influenced my leadership styles, my students have sparked new perspectives, and the Venture Outdoors Community has inspired me to embrace my love for the outdoors. As I move through life, I will always carry my Venture Outdoors experience in my pack, so that maybe one day I can inspire just one more person to find their place in the outdoors 

Join the Team

Venture Outdoors is an incredible launching point for staff, volunteers, and interns. Our team gets a chance to gain outdoor leadership skills and grow their sense of wonder while supporting a mission to get everyone outdoors.