“If you let it, this job will change you for the better.” As Brennan Weber reflects on her year of employment with the Department of Recreation Sports, she recognizes her own growth. Working in the Safety program presented her with responsibilities that were challenging and meaningful; and she credits the development of new skills and strengthened character to that experience.
Brennan was hired in May 2011 and assigned to teach her first class the next month. “I remember getting so nervous before my first few instructional classes that I would consider chickening out and asking for a substitute to take my shift.” RecSports Safety Instructors are required to teach according to department and American Health Association standards, ensure a safe learning environment, evaluate participant skill and knowledge, and document learning. One hundred sixty-five classroom hours later, Brennan is pleased to have been pushed (and supported) out of her comfort zone, and actually enjoys classroom. “Teaching is the one aspect of the job that has most changed me. I have become much more confident in my abilities, and nothing beats the feeling of really connecting with students during a class.”
As a Safety Auditor, Brennan was required to drop in on her own peers and test their knowledge on emergency response protocol. It takes courage to hold your friends and colleagues accountable, but she knows that her job is important to the community. “The education and skill training I provide has the potential to save lives – something truly powerful,” she relates. She also recognizes that she is a part of a larger team with a shared purpose. “Every single person working here has something unique to contribute and despite our various backgrounds, we are all here for the same purpose of furthering the Recreational Sports mission.”
“As a ‘safety staffer’, I strive to contribute to the bigger mission of Recreational Sports by being a leader in fostering healthy and creative living through educating members in a friendly, dynamic approach. Whether encouraging a student to feel confident in their CPR skills during an instructional class or explaining an accident to paramedics, I keep the guiding principles of the mission of Recreational Sports in mind.”
Brennan graduates this year and turns her energy and attention to the pursuit of medical school. She counts public speaking skills, emergency response competence, and personal friendships as the most significant take-aways from her RecSports experience. She also leaves her mark on RecSports; and, she leaves a message for those who follow. “My advice for the next generation of Recreational Sports employees is to take advantage of all that this job has to offer. If you go into it with the attitude that it is more than just a job, you will be rewarded with much more than just a typical job experience. Get involved in all facets of your work and strive to make each shift a positive one for yourself, your co-workers, and all of the people you interact with. Not only will you be happier, Recreational Sports as a whole will benefit.”
As president of a the OSU Rifle Club, officer for the Karate Club and member of the Pistol Club, Nicholle Miller takes ‘active’ to another level! “I participate because I have fun”, she said. Beyond that, “some of the most important life lessons I’ve learned, as well as the best memories and the strongest friendships have come from participating in the OSU Rifle Club”. “I know that every time I go to practice I am going to have a good time”, she adds.
Nicholle relates her involvement with the greater community. “Recreational Sports allows students to represent Oregon State University on a local, regional and national level, as well as in community service events”. This connection is important to Nicholle. Though her involvement, “it’s given me an opportunity and to make strong friendships with others who have common interests”.
Nicholle was recently selected to be a Program Manager for Sports and Special Programs and serves on the Sports Club Committee in Recreational Sports. “In order to participate in all of this, and get my school work done, I’ve had to become very good at time management and organization”. And she relishes the activity. “RecSports has prepared me for a fast-paced, healthy lifestyle by keeping me active, organized, focused and by providing additional leadership opportunities”.
The impact of her involvement has been significant. “I have no doubt that if it weren’t for my involvement in the OSU Rifle Club that I would not be who I am today”, said Nicholle. “The lessons I have learned and the friendships that I have made are those which far surpass any I had before coming to college.”
Nicholle is looking forward to a career in the United States Marine Corps after she graduates.
As an Instructor/Facilitator at the OSU Challenge Course, James Ivelich has learned a lot about himself and other people. “I have gained a tremendous respect for the human dynamic and the impacts we can make on each other’s lives”, said James. “Working in experiential education through the challenge course enabled me to help participants learn about themselves and others in a way that fosters a healthy environment.”
James continues, “In observing the way hundreds of people have interacted in the programming that I’ve been part of, I now find it impossible to put others down, discount opinions or be generally disrespectful. In many ways”, he adds, “All of the lessons I have imparted on participants have been embedded tenfold upon myself”.
Being a facilitator has been rewarding work. “Everyone wants to work better in groups and the Challenge Course provides opportunities to learn these skills”. One memory stands out. “I had the opportunity to belay a deaf participant on one of our most challenging high course elements, the Power-Pole. Having to forgo the typical verbal communications used to instruct and encourage participants challenged my conception of programming. Viewing her eagerness and fearlessness despite her limitation was inspiring”.
With a degree in engineering, James will work with people to optimize both technical and social proficiencies. “My work through RecSports has prepared me for the social and group dynamic aspects of a professional career”.
Asked for his ‘words of wisdom’ for other students, James said, “be malleable! It’s one thing to have an open mind; it’s another to act on it”.