Learning the Ropes (and Other Skills)
Posted on June 17, 2012 by
Getting started with a new sport or activity can be kind of daunting, especially if you don’t know anyone who shares the interest. Or perhaps your friends are already experts, and you’re afraid of embarrassing yourself or possibly slowing them down, making the experience less enjoyable for everyone. Maybe you’re already involved in your activity of choice but would love to learn new skills or build on the ones you have.
So, where can you learn this stuff? If you’re lucky enough to have an REI store nearby (currently in 30 states plus Washington, DC), check out their website or go in and find out about their classes & events. There are quite a variety of activities and disciplines covered, such as camping, backpacking, cycling, rock climbing, outdoor photography, kayaking, you name it. Also offered are general lessons like navigation, first aid, camp cooking, etc. The great thing is that almost all classes are free, but some of the more advanced or in-depth (REI Outdoor School) classes charge a modest fee. If you become a member, the member price is a little cheaper. Many courses are offered on a rotating schedule, so if you miss one you can always wait a month or so. There are also a number of “one-off” offerings from guest experts covering various topics.
Courses are offered in different stores which cover topics specific for that area. For instance, the Colorado stores offer courses on Hiking “14ers” (the 54+ mountains over 14,000 feet in the Rockies), or mountain meteorology, just to name a few.
REI also has great volunteer programs, if you’d like to be involved by building or repairing local trails.
Once you learn these skills, check out some of the travel adventures offered by REI to locations around the world (not free, but fairly priced) to get a chance to use them. Who knows? Maybe your expert buddies will now have to learn a thing or two from you!
Find more info at: www.rei.com/learn