Work is an adventure for Fleming grad Kim Chamberlain

kim-chamberlainEvery workday is an adventure for Kim Chamberlain, a 2016 graduate of Fleming College’s Outdoor and Adventure Education program. During the summer months Kim works as a wilderness and whitewater guide, and during the winter she conducts dog sledding.

“I have been so blessed to be able to do what I love as a career,” said Kim, who is spending the summer as an independent contractor for The Canadian Canoe Museum, Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Reserve, and Luna Adventures.

“I would have to say that every trip that I have done on the Madawaska River with new paddlers has brought some amazing memories,” said Kim. “I love seeing students who have never done whitewater before start out just terrified! On that first rapid they go down it can be a negotiation to even get them to go, by the end of the second day they are just shredding it. Watching the smiling/scared/excited faces coming down the rapids just makes my heart soar every time.”

Kim’s career today looks much different from the life she led years ago. For ten years Kim ran a publishing company in Toronto.

“I decided that I needed a change,” she said. “I packed up and moved to the country with my boyfriend and dog, and enrolled in the program.”

Kim enjoying a whitewater trip. Photo credit: Dylan Willsteed.
Photo credit: Dylan Willsteed.

She chose Fleming College because it offered “the perfect outdoor education program,” and highly recommends it because students earn the necessary certifications, learn about risk management and how to deal with groups.

“Without these skills I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today,” she said.

This winter, Kim will take on a new adventure in the United Arab Emirates. She will work as an Adventure Instructor for Absolute Adventure in Kalba, UAE.

Her advice to current students is to stay positive. “Know that there will be times that you will fall down and think that you’re failing, that you’re in over your head,” she said. “But it’s all part of the experience, your life starts when you pick yourself back up and keep going.”

Connor McConnell is career climbing at Franz Josef Glacier Guides in New Zealand

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It is no secret that Outdoor and Adventure Education graduate Connor McConnell loves nature.

Instead of studying in the hustle and bustle of a big city, Connor opted to do his post-secondary education on 150 acres of land at Fleming’s School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences. And instead of taking a 9-to-5 office job after graduating, Connor chose to move to New Zealand to lead hikes on the Franz Josef Glacier.

As Trainee Guide for Franz Josef Glacier Guides, Connor is responsible for groups of up to 11 people, providing safe, fun and informative three-hour hikes.

The Class of 2015 Fleming graduate credits his college education with helping him secure this dream job. Connor took the Outdoor and Adventure Education program, which teaches students how to plan and lead outdoor adventures, provide educational and interpretive programming, and help others develop their skills and confidence while sharing an appreciation of the outdoors.

“The main skills I’d say that have really helped me is communication, problem solving and quick thinking. With these skills I have been able to adapt to almost every situation I have been put in,” said Connor.

Connor decided to attend Fleming’s Frost Campus in Lindsay, Ont., because of its environment. “It is a very welcoming, open and relaxed school. Made me feel right at home, like I belonged there the moment I arrived on the first day,” said Connor.

“I find that Fleming College is a great stepping stone, whether that is for a future job or continuing higher education in the future, such as university,” he said. “I enjoyed every minute of my time there. Made great friends and loved the whole outdoors vibe the campus gives off.”

His advice to current students is to dream big and work hard to achieve it. “Always shoot for the stars, no matter how hard or far away it may seem,” he said. “Aim as high as you can and give it all you got, and you’ll find you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”