Announcing Our Next Staff In The Spotlight…

13 04 2012

Hannah Satein!!!!!Hannah was unanimously chosen as our staff in the spotlight for her great attitude, stellar work, and enthusiasm for cross-training.  She’s one of those people whose laughter will fill up a room. Her commitment to alternative transportation is also noteworthy.  This woman is committed to biking and is even headed on a huge bike tour this summer from Oregon to Minnesota.  She will be missed in summer camps, but we’re excited to hear more about her adventures when she returns!

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

I first became involved with the River House as a participant in A.T.H.E.N.A (Amazing Talented Heroines Exploring Nature and Art), an art and outdoor group for young women, in 2006 during my last year of high school. A few years later, I ran into Aimee, who had been one of my leaders in that group, in the halls of U of O and she mentioned the Full Moon Rising program (an environmental education program that reconnects youth with nature) to me. After graduating from college, I contacted Aimee and got a job with the River House working for Full Moon Rising.

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

Oh man, there are so many. I can sincerely say I love all the people I get to work with. The staff come from such a diverse set of backgrounds and I love the opportunity to learn about the lives, passions, and knowledge of everyone I get to work with.

And it goes without saying that the work we get to do is a blast. I love spending time with new folks, old and young, outdoors and gaining new skills. Safety comes first, but priority number two is to have a good time, and it is wonderful to share awesome experiences with community members. There are so many times that I take a pause during work and say, “This is really my job?”

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

One of the coolest things about the River House is the culture of learning it fosters. I think a lot of community members might not know all the opportunities for growth and new skills that are offered by the River House not only to the community, but to staff as well. We are encouraged to try new programs, do trainings, and sharpen our current skills in a multitude of ways. I personally have become a much better facilitator, teacher, rock climber, and soon to be raft guide since starting work at the River House.

What are your goals for the River House Outdoor Program?

The River House provides so many awesome programs and there is a current of change and exploration in the programming that I really appreciate. Right now bicycle safety education is being piloted as a River House program, and I would love to see this get taken on and become a part of our regular programming.

River House also has to deal with the shifting budget cycles of all government-funded programs, and I hope that we will be able to continue to provide the wonderful low-cost and free programs that are at the heart of what we do.

Lastly, I want the culture of learning, collaboration, play, and kindness to always be there, which I am sure it will be : )

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

Although I have many I enjoy, I have to say biking. As a bike commuter, my bike ends up being the number one way I spend time outside year-round. Furthermore, my bike is a tool that I ever increasingly use to get me to other outdoor pursuits such as hiking, swimming, frisbee, and climbing. I love that I can have a blast riding my bike solo or even better, rolling around or out of town with a group of friends.

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

Blue and yellow are my favorite colors. I end up spending a lot of time in blue clothes and I love yellow, especially on walls and houses, because it is such a happy color. I love Barbara Kingsolver’s writing and my favorite book of hers is The Poisonwood Bible. I generally profess to not have a favorite movie or be a movie person, but I did see Bridesmaids three times in theaters. My favorite song changes regularly, but right now it is Sauvie Island by Kick Ball. My favorite sport to play is ultimate frisbee.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Hula-hoop, climb, read, run, yoga, frisbee, bike, drink tea, walk.


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

Kirsten, Ray and I were leading the last 4 R’s camp of the summer, and it was our final day of camp, the always looked forward to raft trip down the McKenzie. At the end of the day we were approaching Martin’s, the biggest and baddest rapid of them all. This venture into Martin’s was much anticipated by our boat, and Kirsten, our trusty guide for the day, as it was her first time taking a camp crew down. Ray, veteran raft guide with no raft spills on record, was up ahead and our boat was following his line, or path through the river. However, our raft got delayed before we entered Martin’s so we could no longer follow Ray.

As we entered the clear blueish white froth of Martin’s, we saw a most unexpected sight. Ray’s raft had not gotten far enough to the left, and was caught in the hydraulics of the river. As we careened past his raft, we watched the river empty half the crew out of the boat. The kids who’d been dumped floated through the wave train to our raft. We picked them up and waited for Ray to meet us below. While more wet than anticipated, all the kids were smiling and gushing over what had happened.

The trip was memorable not only because it was a novel situation, but because it was real; sometimes the unexpected happens. To me, being on rivers offers a tangible metaphor for life, of being carried on the flow, prepared but not in control of what is coming around the next bend. For myself, and I think for many of us at the River House, part of the love of the outdoors is stepping outside of a controlled environment and having a greater awareness of the power of life around us, and part of our joy in our work is being able to share that power, freedom, and flow with those we serve. This experience was memorable because it reinforced this lesson for me and gave me a better understanding of how to be an outdoor educator.

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