IDS Application Essay

Adventure Tourism

Robert Jaarsma

    Adventure Tourism is a combination of Adventure Education and Tourism Management.It will be a BA due to dealing with human behavior and it is not a scientific field. This is applying the ideas of group management and safety in a wilderness setting while also promoting sustainable usage on unique environmental areas. I created this major due to my desire to bring people on one of a kind excursions while utilizing sustainable practices to have a small environmental impact. Currently, at Plymouth State University there is no major that is offered that focuses on these key aspects. Majoring in Adventure Education would focus too much on the educational aspect which does not apply to what I am going to be doing. The skills that certain areas of adventure education give you are required to deal with emergency situations and problems associated with backcountry travel and stay. The Tourism Management program here at Plymouth State University does not cover the outdoor skills that are a necessity for taking clients into the backcountry but it focuses on how tourism can affect the environment. There are many times where tourism has ruined an environment by being used unsustainably. This will make it so areas in the world will not have a natural beauty there once was. I want to bring people to these places and show them this beauty without destroying the environment at the destination and the path of there and getting there. By combining the majors of the Adventure Education and Tourism Management it will focus my major into a career I will be working in upon graduating.

    Now looking into the fourteen classes that make up the major of Adventure Tourism and how they focus on the key aspects of group management in a profitable sustainable manner. The first class is Foundations of Adventure Education. This class focused on what different routes of adventure education could be and different learning tools such as natural consequences. It also taught me the fundamentals of being an adventure educator. The next class again is a fundamental class to understanding what exactly tourism is and its effects on the environment. Intro to Travel and Tourism sets the foundation for learning what tourism is and the why behind people traveling. This class can scare you away from the profession due to some of the catastrophic environmental destruction that has happened throughout our past. Understanding these mistakes is something perfect that will help with making sustainable tourism a top priority. Ecotourism is a class that will furthermore help understand how to properly utilize nature for exploration. Looking into ways of utilizing nature in a sustainable manner is a key element of what I will be doing post-graduation. Tourism Development will focus on the impact of tourism on a community-wide scale and sub-state regional. Understanding the impact of business on the surrounding community is essential to maintain a prosperous business. Natural History and Ecology for Adventure Educators is a class that looked into the different species that are found in the northeast. This is relevant and important because one of the biggest attractions here in the northeast is the turning of the leaves. Leaf peepers come from all over the world to look at the fall foliage. Also identifying different species of animals or questions concerning marking, tracks, etc. will build credibility as a professional. Being able to answer any questions from the client about different types of species is incredibly important to Adventure Tourism. Immersion Wilderness Expedition was a semester spent out in the field perfecting group management skills, and other fundamental skills to have when in the backcountry. Immersion Adventure Leader/Group Management showed through multiple days of backpacking and canoeing, the many challenges that are faced within the backcountry. Learning to work with others in stressful situations to overcome and adapt is a required skill to be a trip leader. Learning to work with another person to plan an entire day of travel requires lots of time and effort. Immersion Wilderness First Responder is a certification presented by SOLO that shows you what to do when things go wrong in the backcountry. Focusing on the many medical problems one might face in the backcountry and how to provide care with what you have on hand are required skills. The WFR (Wilderness first responder) also explains lots of the legal aspects of providing care to a patent. This class is important to my major because it shows both the physical treatment and the legal aspects of providing care in the wilderness. Risk Management In Adventure Education is an essential skill for developing the when to send not to send mentality. Understanding what a group is capable of accomplishing and not putting them in a situation where they were more apt to become injured is something used every day for every task. Keeping a group of clients safe by assessing certain levels of risk in different situations is an essential skill when on an excursion. The last class that makes up the major adventure Tourism is Independent study Adventure Education. This class is vital because it will be looking into different companies to find one for my internship. Looking into different fields of work to see what areas and businesses will suit me and my major best will allow me to get experience and a foot in the door for when I leave Plymouth State University. For the QRCO class I will take Business Statistics. This credit can be applied to the jobs I want to get into after college because it will teach me a lot about the software that is used in modern businesses. 

    In the process of creating this major here at Plymouth State University, I have talked to three different professionals who currently work in either Adventure Education or Management. The first and biggest influence in creating this major is James Hannon Associate Professor in Adventure Education. He answered all of my questions concerning different fields of adventure education. He has also been a general mentor with my other hobbies of mountain biking, running, and skiing. With creating this major Professor Hannon has given insight on different aspects of where I would gain different opportunities and where my creating this major could hold me back. The second who helped me develop the major the most is Christian Bisson. We looked at all the classes that Plymouth offers and narrowed them down to the ones that will best apply to what I am going to be doing. The third professional who has helped me develop my major is Adam Keul. He is the Assistant Professor of Tourism Management and Policy and is incredibly knowledgeable with effective sustainable tourism. We have worked together to find the classes within Tourism Management and Policy to find the classes that will develop my knowledge with sustainable tourism in an outdoor environment. We are setting up an internship so I can get real-world experience in the field of Adventure Tourism.

    Creating the program Adventure Tourism will captivate the main ideas of wilderness expedition and sustainable tourism. Taking the backcountry experience that is required for leading a group in a safe manner and using knowledge of sustainability will give the clients a unique memorable experience. This program is Interdisciplinary because it takes key aspects of Adventure Education that apply to lead people into the backcountry and leaves out a lot of the teaching aspects. Adventure Education makes students into a teacher in an outdoor setting. This is less so of what I want to do upon graduation. I am going to be working in taking clients on a unique experience less so teaching classes in a wilderness setting. The Tourism Management and Policy will bring the sustainability and impact of tourism and will exclude the aspects of politics and some of the business. Using the key elements of these two majors and combining them into one will make it so I will have all the necessary skill sets to lead clients on backcountry expeditions while operating in a sustainable, enjoyable manner. I will be tough with these programs to accomplish the educational necessities to provide a fun, safe, sustainable experience.

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