My Outdoor Family

It’s been such a joy to work on this project for MTOP. Middle Tennessee Outdoor Pursuits has been one of the greatest work experiences I’ve ever had. “Getting paid to go outdoors? Heck yes.” It’s been a rewarding experience like none other. Not only was I privileged enough to learn the skills needed to successfully lead trips in the backcountry, but I was lucky enough to have to opportunities to test those skills practically whenever I wanted. I was encouraged to get outside and just to have fun. “Wait, and you call that a job? Yes!”

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Honestly, MTOP has prepared me for the future probably more the credit hours for my degree did. I learned leadership, teamwork, planning, scouting, guiding and safety. I learned how to look out for people and know when to pick people up mentally and physically. I learned that overcoming schedules is just as important as overcoming fears. Life is too short to play it safe and sit on the sidelines. It’s about getting out there and seeing the world through your eyes and not through the eyes of others [online]. Yeah, National Geographic make the Smoky Mountains look really good. (But they look a whole lot better in person.)

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College is an important time in a young person’s life. It’s where you make those life decisions that stick with you into your adult life. What will your career be? Where will you go? Who will you meet? Life is just a series of steps. Will you wait until the last step to take a risk? Will it be too late then?

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As much fun as kayaking down a whitewater river is, the people are what truly make this program what it is: great. I’ve made lifelong friends through this program. While our love of the outdoors is what brought us together, it’s the love for each other that keeps us together. We work together. We plan together. And we live life together. MTOP will forever be a community for young folks who love the outdoors.

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And the best part, their trips are freaking cheap. So go and get involved at MTOP!

And here’s the video….