An RSPA internship
Division of Family Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (DFMWR)
Fort Carson Army Base, Colorado
Adventure Programs and Education
Imagine walking into work every day to serve military personnel who are searching for adventure by guiding them on a journey through gushing whitewater rapids, up monstrous crags, or down a treacherous trail on a bike at 20 miles per hour. With Fort Carson Adventure Programs and Education, an intern can experience all of that and much more. Wilderness pursuits such as whitewater rafting or kayaking, mountain biking, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, or ice climbing are all programs one can experience depending on the season. Fort Carson, Colorado happens to be renowned across the country for having the busiest and most successful outdoor recreation sector in MWR. Outdoor recreation students who are looking to fulfill their internship requirement should not hesitate to consider applying with Fort Carson's internship program. Students who complete the internship with Adventure Programs and Education receive crucial technical skill development pertinent in the outdoor world.
Internship opportunities there are based on the seasons: summer, winter, and fall. The highest demand for program activity occurs in the summer and winter whereas the fall season is nearly dormant in regard to program activity. Summer interns can expect to master their skills in raft guiding, rock climbing, planning for multi-day programs, and implementing instructional programs in outdoor activity. Winter interns can expect to lead trips in backcountry skiing, ice climbing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, mountaineering, and even more. The fall season occasionally has a demand for an intern or two; however the administration usually uses that season for preparation and planning for winter.
If students in Missouri are hesitant to apply for such an internship because of their lack of experience and resources, there is little need to worry. With self-discipline, motivation, and a positive attitude one succeed at this internship. Having a background in rock climbing or skiing, for example, can of course be an asset, but may also lead to overconfidence and an unwillingness to learn or accept new ideas or policies. If a student is a novice, this internship can possibly be exponentially more beneficial. Based on my experience, the extreme amount of challenge will become a burden, but with perseverance and determination, success can be achieved. Before one realizes, the internship will be half over and one can be proficient (or better) in nearly every program.
The professional development opportunity offered with Fort Carson's Adventure Programs and Education is an interesting and rewarding process. The supervisors there are all about having fun while maintaining responsibility and efficiency. They expect interns to be successful with little prompting. Interns will learn from their own mistakes. Fort Carson also expects personal initiative. Interns may initially expect to be confused and frustrated because they will have no idea where things are or what they are supposed to do to prepare for a program in as few as four hours. However, this is what stirs up motivation and leads to outstanding problem-solving skills. Over time, interns begin to find their state of flow. Feelings of despair will hopefully transform when interns realize they have been enjoying the luxuries of the mountains and river as well as access to all the resources one could need for the three months they will have been there. They finish stronger than when they started and are able to offer superior outdoor leadership and guidance. They become master navigators of the river, rock climbing conquerors, and planning wizards (during the summer season). Ultimately, the internship there is whatever an intern makes it, because he or she has the freedom to develop themselves.
Fort Carson's Adventure Programs and Education internship prepares students for a job in military recreation, specifically, but also provides skill sets and assets that can be applied to any profession in the outdoors. Completing this internship not only knocked off some of my bucket list items, but also contributed to my feeling capable of achieving in any career I want. With my perseverance, determination, and a positive attitude, I learned that I can make it through anything and experience success. I turned any negative situation into an opportunity. One must make the best of every situation no matter how ridiculous things may sometimes seem. These are merely a few philosophies I carried away from my internship at Fort Carson. What will be yours?
By Dillon Brown '13