Staff In the Spotlight

10 11 2011

The River House Outdoor Program is pleased to announce Ray Cole as our next “Staff In The Spotlight”.  Ray is one of those instructors that is able to establish a rapport with community members, colleagues, and supervisors.  He gains immediate trust by demonstrating his competency while maintaining a fun loving attitude which naturally draws people in.  There are many staff that have used Ray’s facilitation style as a model to strive for.  Thank you Ray for your commitment to the River House Outdoor Program!  We look forward to many more adventures together!

How did you get involved with the River House Outdoor Program?

I first got involved with the River House (RHOP) after working at a summer camp in the Sierra mountains of California.  I got a job as a Recreation Leader in one of the city’s after-school programs where I met Aimee Goglia and Isaac Marquez.  I told them that I had just spent the summer facilitating challenge courses and leading outdoor rock climbing trips, and they mentioned that there was a Spencer Butte Challenge Course Facilitator Training coming up.  I contacted Kellie Nemke, took the training, and was hired on as a Co-facilitator that summer.  That was 2004.

What’s your favorite part about the River House Outdoor Program?

What’s not to love, really?  I really like meeting and getting to know the people that I work with.  It seems like everyone that works at the RHOP has some sort of special talent, unique interest, or righteous life mission they have dedicated themselves to.  The one commonality they all have, though, is a passion for what they teach and facilitate.  I think that’s what sets the RHOP apart from the other places that I’ve worked.  It’s rare to have a truly “bad” day while working at something you truly love at the root of your soul.

What’s something people might not know about the Outdoor Program that you’d like to share?

If you are thinking about taking a class at the River House, you should know that the people there truly care about your experience.  Your time with them, what you learn, and how you learn it, are at the center of what they do.  It moves the instructors very deeply to see you enjoying and discovering the activities they have had as part of their lives, and they take great joy in passing their knowledge and skill to you and the rest of the participants in the class/program.

What are your goals for the Outdoor Program?

My goals for the RHOP are met on a regular basis as it branches out into new and exciting activities, and continues to reach more corners of our community.  Access to the outdoors is a huge part of my conservation philosophy, and the River House gets better and better at including people from every part of our area, and helping them gain access to our very special surroundings.

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

I love getting to places I have never been.  I find great joy in discovering a quiet little green space where there never seems to be anybody else, yet is well used and cared for by the people that know about it.  Also, being around a campfire with people and pets I love is one of my favorite things in life.

What’s your favorite color? Book? Movie? Song? Sport?

It sounds cliche, but I don’t really play favorites.  I listen to all sorts of music (except hard-core anything and country), I love funny books, I enjoy playing volleyball, and prefer watching college sports to professional sports any day of the week.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with my beautiful little family, my wife and two dogs.

What’s your most memorable experience at the River House?

As an instructor, I am continuously blown away by the amount of fun, and the amount I learn from working with the wonderful people of MIUSA (Mobility International).  I have met some of the sweetest, smartest, bravest, most inspiring, and beautiful people while working with that organization.  Whether it is on a cold day at the Spencer Butte Challenge Course, or a hot day on the river, I always, always walk away from those days with a story to tell, and a smile on my face…and a really good night’s sleep.

I would also add that as a participant, taking the Whitewater Kayaking I class was amazing.  It really gave me a chance to witness how amazing River House instructors really are.  It was truly rewarding to sit back and enjoy a River House class from the participant’s perspective.




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