Cara Befort

Major: Outdoor Education
Hometown: Visalia, CA
Class: Senior
Program Position: Trip Leader and Equipment Room Staff | Adventure Outings

How did you first get connected with Adventure Outings (AO)?
I transferred here in the fall of 2011 from Feather River Community College. I already knew about Adventure Outings because I had some contacts there. They encouraged me to apply because of my pursuit of an outdoor education degree. I applied and served as an assistant trip leader for a semester and was also hired to work in the equipment room. My background in outdoor recreation leadership allowed me to advance quickly in AO, so I became a trip leader after one semester.

How would you describe your current position with AO?
As a trip leader we are NOT professional pack mules or glorified van drivers. I ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for our students, but more importantly, I connect them with the natural world. To make that happen I take care of all the trip logistics including confirming permits and reservations and facilitating pre-trip meetings to ensure adequate preparation and expectations for the trip. In the field I teach outdoor skills and instill environmental ethics by teaching “leave no trace” principles.

We are so fortunate to live where we do because we have access to phenomenal rivers for kayaking and rafting and quality rocks to climb. Plus, we’re in close proximity to snow for skiing and snowshoeing. You don’t need to have any experience to join us on any trip. We’ll train you and provide all the needed equipment. And, you don’t have to be a trip participant to take advantage of our gear resources. You can visit the equipment rental room at the WREC which is open to the public and we’ll provide you with gear for your next weekend adventure.

What does working at AO do for you personally, professionally, or academically?
Something magical happens when people sleep under the stars for the first time or have the satisfaction of standing on top of a peak in the Sierras. It’s fulfilling to facilitate that experience for them and share in their enjoyment. All that I do at AO better prepares me for a career in outdoor education where I can share my joy of connecting to nature.

What do YOU bring to the table in your position at AO?
Chocolate! There’s nothing like a little chocolate to get you through a day or up a mountain.

What are your career plans and how does your job with AO better prepare you for that path?
I hope to have a career in the outdoor education industry whether it’s teaching experiential education or guiding expeditions. My heart is outside. I could go in a variety of directions. I also have a passion for wilderness rescue and medicine. That kind of work dovetails well with the technical skills I’ve developed in my AO job. I’ll never make a lot of money, but I will absolutely LOVE what I do because it is a lifestyle choice for me.