"Oh, the Places You'll Go!" - GC Graduate Follows Her Own Advice

Catherine Patterson, a top notch student in the Garrett College Adventure Sports program, stepped to the podium to give the student address during the 2011 graduation ceremony. She opened her remarks by underscoring her belief that in many of life’s situations one must go where one’s heart leads.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. You are the guy who'll decide where to go,” Patterson said, quoting the words of her favorite author Dr. Seuss from his book Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

And she had decided where to start that journey. Patterson, a native of Bowie, took all the tools of her education at Garrett College, which she referred to as the best experience of her life, and with characteristic enthusiasm leapt into the world to continue her adventure.

Following graduation, Patterson worked for the Adventure Sports Center International (ASCI) as a guide for rafting, climbing, and hiking guide as well as a teacher for kayak roll sessions. She also taught a Back Country Living Skills course for Garrett College prior to moving to Breckenridge, Colorado, in October 2011 where she started working as a snowboarding instructor.

Recently, Patterson sent an email to her alma mater to let the folks in the Garrett College Adventuresports Institute (ASI) know what she is involved in. “Just wanted to give you an update ‘cause I'm stoked about my job this summer! I'm working with a company called SOS which stands for Snowsports Outreach Society,” she wrote.

The organization, SOS, is a youth development program that recently started offering outdoor summer programs. SOS teaches six core values to students: Courage, Discipline, Wisdom, Integrity, Compassion, and Humility, Patterson explained, adding: “We also teach outdoor skills and life skills. We work with underprivileged youth and at risk youth to give them opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have to get outside.”

Patterson thrives on sharing her love of the outdoors and using all adventures as teaching and learning opportunities. “During the month of May I worked guiding fourth graders. All of the fourth graders in Eagle County get to go on this trip with their school. We camp at the Colorado National Monument in Fruita, Colorado. We teach the kids how to cook and clean in camp. We teach them camp etiquette and we have evening programs with them where we teach them ‘Leave No Trace” and sing silly songs. During the day we get to take the kids hiking and rock climbing. We teach them the geology and natural history of the area plus the history of the monument,” she said.

Getting her level II snowboarding certification is on her agenda for next winter as she continues to learn and grow and follow where her heart leads. “Thanks to all of you back at ASI for everything! None of this would have been possible without all of you!” she said.

More information on the Adventure Sport programs at Garrett College is available at www.garrettcollege.edu

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