Since graduating in 2014 with a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership, Brett Menter has led heli-ski trips in Alaska, guided ice climbing trips on glaciers, coordinated outdoor activities for disabled children and more recently, taught outdoor orientation classes at Colorado Mountain College Leadville.
A natural born leader, Brett saw that he would need to learn skills to excel in the outdoor industry. The ORL program at Colorado Mountain College Leadville was the perfect match. Brett learned both technical and “soft” interpersonal skills to build on his innate abilities.
“Of course, I learned the whole spectrum of technical skills necessary to be a mountain guide.” says Brett, “But most importantly, I learned communication and human development skills. Being able to communicate with people, keep people safe and talk people through fear and risk is crucial for an outdoor leader.“
These soft skills were a primary tool for Brett while working with disabled children during his time at the summer camp in British Columbia.
“We worked with children that were vision impaired, hearing impaired… children on the autism spectrum, children with physical aggression.” says Brett, “I talked these children through fear and risk, often using non-verbal communication like hand gestures and hugs.
“The most important skill is being able to adapt those communication abilities to whoever you are working with,” says Brett, “whether it is a high-end heli-ski client paying $10,000 or a five year-old from foster care who can’t speak at all.”
Motivation, dedication and a healthy dose of humility are crucial elements to a successful outdoor career, but it takes a strong role model to put those in perspective. The Outdoor Recreation Leadership program in Leadville is fortunate to have leaders with this ethos teaching tomorrow’s mountaineers and raft guides.
“I’m motivated to become a leader because it is a place I feel comfortable,” says Brett, “I’ve embraced it, while maintaining a humble attitude. I look to people like Kent Clement and Cooper Mallozzi, who are incredibly humble and immensely talented. They’re great mentors.”
Now Brett is giving back as a role model and field instructor.
“I love being a resource for current and future students and giving back to the Colorado Mountain College community,” he says. “I think a lot of students see what I have done and know it’s possible for them to get out there and find a job doing what they love, too.”