Outdoor Leadership just got Smarter, Safer, Sexier…October 24, 2013
Written by Vapur Pro Team member, Laura Bylund.
As of last week, roughly seventy outdoor leaders in training at the University of California became proud new owners of the Vapur Anti-Bottle.
The Leadership Training Course at UCSB is an annual five-month intensive that prepares aspiring individuals with the hard and soft skills necessary for guiding quality outdoor adventures. Participants are trained in outdoor disciplines such as rock climbing, kayaking, canyoneering, canoeing, backpacking, orienteering, camp cuisine and wilderness medicine. The course also covers a wide variety of other topics such as group dynamics, risk management, leadership styles, professionalism, decision making, trip logistics and even towing trailers.
These leaders in training are considered for a guide position with UCSB Adventure Programs upon successful completion of the course. This is easier said than done, as there are many course requirements and certifications that must be fulfilled by the end of the five months.
One of those requirements is a driving certification through the Smith System for which I am an instructor (random, I know). I used the prospect of receiving a colorful new Vapur Anti-Bottle to coax these newbie guides into listening to a two-hour lecture on better driving habits… I’ll give a bottle away to the person who can make that topic sound even the slightest bit attractive!
As an educator mostly of alluring topics such as rock climbing and canyoneering, I have this compulsive need to make sure everything I teach is engaging and not boring my audience to tears. I also strive to make logical, more-than-commonsensical arguments that are worthy of wholeheartedly buying into. Lecturing already experienced drivers about their driving habits automatically sets me up for failure in this endeavor.
I’m a firm believer that every experienced driver should take a course like this, given that while 90% of people claim to be “good” drivers, 95% of all reported accidents are attributed to driver error. I mean we’re imperfect human beings, traveling way faster than nature had intended for our brains, in gigantic steel death machines. It’s no wonder that tens of thousands of people are killed, millions of people injured and billions of dollars are spent each year in U.S. car accidents alone.
These stats mixed with the fun fact that our guides are driving paid participants in low-visibility 12-passenger vans, towing large trailers, and that the program’s financial security is affected by even the slightest fender bender, oh and just that I hate the thought of wasting two hours of everyone’s time including my own, makes me further poised to ensure that everyone listens.
Luckily, my bribe worked, which means those proud new Vapur Anti-Bottle owners are also successfully certified in the Smith Driving System. You’re welcome, America. The added bonus is that they now have a smarter and sexier way of staying hydrated while on the trail, in the ocean, at the crag, on the river and in canyon this season.
“I had no idea learning how to drive better with the Smith System could be fun,” said Mary Beth Dreusike, Leadership Training Course Class of 2014. “Laura was able to hold my attention for 2 hours before revealing the Vapur prize at the end. As a trail runner, I’m a bit of a minimalist. I like things light and quick. The Vapur Anti-Bottle is perfect for my everyday life when I need to stay hydrated. It will come in handy for quick hikes away from camp or mini excursions where I don’t want to lug my pack around.”