The NWOBS staff don’t just do an amazing job supporting the Outward Bound mission, they also volunteer on Mt. Hood, run ultra marathons, explore the Arctic, and hike extreme distances.
2017 is Portland Program Manager, Robyn Gelfand’s sixth season as a Volunteer Alpine Patroller on Mt. Hood Ski Patrol, the oldest ski patrol in the country. As a Volunteer Alpine Patroller Robyn commits at least ten weekend days in a season to the position. On these days she gets up early before the lifts are open to prepare the mountain by de-icing toboggans, setting up safety signs, roping off boundaries, and checking for unmarked hazards. After the mountain opens to the public she helps provide emergency medical care and transportation to injured skiers and snowboarders and keeps the mountain safe for the public to enjoy. Finally, after a full day of skiing and aiding injured skiers and snowboarders, Robyn and the other Volunteer Alpine Patrollers do a closing sweep of the mountain to make sure it’s all clear.
Robyn says she started volunteering as way to give back to the mountain and to make sure other people have the opportunity to safely enjoy it. Even though it is a challenging position she has a lot of fun and says it’s a great way to get first tracks.
Photo By Adam Oyster-Sands
Executive Director, Mitsu Iwasaki, Student Services Advisor, Morgan Oyster-Sands, and Course Instructor, Tami Ankeny are perfect examples of how NWOBS staff exemplify the ideals of challenge and discovery both in the office and out. In 2017 Mitsu and Morgan participated in multiple long-distance runs together, including Morgan’s first ultra-marathon at Smith Rock State Park!
For Mitsu, running ultra-marathons is about overcoming perceived mental barriers and limits to his physical ability. Over his running career he has been able to push himself further and further building up to long-distance runs – he says, as with students, he believes there is more in all of us than we know. He also continues to run ultra-marathons because he appreciates the sense of community and camaraderie. Morgan became involved because she wanted to run something long distance on trail, to discover her own capacity, and credits her participation in Run the Rock to Mitsu’s encouragement and support.
They trained and prepared for the run focusing on nutrition and hydration, Morgan went as far as to laminate a course map, noting every bend in the trail. The mental strength needed to accomplish this great feat was drawn from the support that Mitsu and Morgan provided each other on trail. They kept each other on track and never hit a wall because they ran together to the finish line. They agree that it is beneficial to run with someone because the ultras are so physically and mentally draining having someone there that can tell you when to eat or drink and just provide general support is necessary. NWOBS Operations Manager, Carla Reistenberg, met them at checkpoints to provide moral support.
Mitsu and Morgan are appreciative of each other and excited for more ultras in the future. Now that Morgan has one under her belt she knows she can do it faster and keep improving. Mitsu has already signed up to participate in three more in 2018.
Education & Arctic Expedition
Michaela Precourt, long-time NW Outward Bound Instructor, is committed to educating and connecting young people to the world around them. Over years of traveling and teaching, Michaela kept asking herself, “how can I use my voice to protect, educate, and continue to enjoy these wonderful, snowy environments?” She then decided she would pursue a life of purpose and intention, discover how to broadcast change, and instill authentic connection between people and the world through Down to Earth.
With Down to Earth, Michaela is spending each winter in a new arctic environment with a crew with diverse backgrounds. By filming each journey, Down to Earth will instill environmental stewardship within students around the globe, by creating connection to the natural world. Michaela’s dedication and passion for change, has given countless young people and adults an opportunity to learn and reflect, to find their sense of place, and to build connections; so to bring inspiration to communities for a better future.