Sunday, April 19, 2015

Adult Education takes its classes to the outdoors - By Michelle Libby

For the first time, the Outdoor Discovery Program at LL Bean traveled to Raymond to lead a Maine Guide course, giving students the information they need to be certified as a Maine Guide to lead people on treks into the woods and other outdoor experiences. The program was offered through Windham-Raymond Adult Education.

“We provide skills to be a Maine Guide and at the end you should have information you need to go take the state exam,” said Emily Smaha, who runs the Outdoor Discovery Program. As a perk of the class, she reserved a day for the students to take the exam together. 

The class covers recreation guide work, map and compass work, lost person drills and scenarios and general information about the state so guides can identify plants and animals. They also work on risk management, group dynamics (how to manage everyone’ personalities in a group), leave no trace principals and camp kitchens. 
The license the students get from the state, if they choose to take the test, allows them to receive payment to take people into the woods. From guided hiking to recreational camping or winter camping and snowmobiling, Maine and Alaska require certification for this. “It’s a long and proud program in Maine,” said Smaha. 

WRAE continually seeks out valuable job training and retraining opportunities such as this for adults in the Sebago Lakes Region. It is our mission and goal to provide a variety of lifelong learning options. We will continue to seek out input from the community on the types of programs and course we should provide. We are also looking to provide greater programming in the Raymond area,” said director of adult education Tom Nash. 

The attendees were all over 18 and had outdoor experience, which is a prerequisite. The instructors for this course were Mike Henry and Steve Custer. 
“The more people we can educate in this way, the better off we all are,” said Smaha. 

“WRAE will continue to offer a wide variety of outdoor-related classes, including Maine Guide training; map, compass and GPS courses; introduction to recreational kayaking, as well as garden tours, and travel programs,” said Tina Christophersen, Careers Pathways coordinator at WARE.  

In March, participants in the Maine Guide program ran a “lost person” scenario at Jordan-Small Middle School in Raymond. Pictured are:
Karen Johnson
Martha Page
Sparky Hurgin (only male)
Maci Jo Libby

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