Quest Outdoor Adventure and Leadership

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Quest is an outdoor adventure and leadership program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania serving students and the general public.

Quest offers exciting, outdoor and educational courses, mostly at the beginner and intermediate level, in Pennsylvania, the United States, Africa, South and Central America and Europe. People of all ages and backgrounds participate. Many courses are in response to organizations who ask us to design special outdoor experiences for them.

Schedule of Events

Fall 2021 Events

All of Quest's trips are self-funded. Any donations to our program would greatly benefit students participating in enriching experiences and would be graciously accepted.

Quest courses are offered to students at Bloomsburg University and the general public. Participants range in age from 14 to 70 and come from as far afield as Colorado and Florida. Most Quest courses are conducted within a 50 mile range of Bloomsburg, others range to other states and continents.

Many Quest courses are designed for groups and organizations who ask us to schedule courses to meet the special needs of their members. Activities range from teambuilding for community groups and high school faculties to rock climbing and caving for schools and scout groups.

Quest History

The history of the evolution of Quest is really a history of ideas and the people who had the conviction and energy to bring those ideas to reality.

Vision Statement

  • To teach outdoor skills as a means to promote lifelong fitness, personal challenge, and recreation.
  • To empower individuals to move beyond self imposed limitations.
  • To teach self-reliance, an independent spirit, an unquenchable curiosity, and above all, compassion for all others and all living things.
  • To develop team building, leadership, and effective interaction skills.

Leadership Principles

As a leadership development program these are the principles that define what we think is effective leadership.  All of our programming is meant to educate on and reinforce these principles. Everyone will have strengths and weaknesses within this list.  The goal of the Quest leadership model is to fine tune and expand the strengths and improve the challenge areas specific to each person.

  1. Be Passionate
  2. Have a Servant Mentality
  3. Have a Big Picture Mentality
  4. Strive for Sound Judgment and Decision Making
  5. Be willing to question and be questioned
  6. Inspire Others to Act
  7. Have Solid Skills and Be Able to Teach Those Skills
  8. Act as a Facilitator of Knowledge
  9. Be a Mentor to Others
  10. Be a Model of Excellence

Based on ideas and principles from Outward Bound, Quest Staff  and Kouzes & Posner (2007)

The International Outward Bound Program, with its emphasis on teamwork, leadership and the development of human potential through challenging outdoor activities, attracted the interest of several BU administrators and faculty in the early 1970’s.

John Walker, as Assistant to the President, Steve Breset, Physical Education faculty, and Louis Mingrone, biology faculty, were instrumental in the mid 1970’s in providing that vital initial impetus that led to the establishment of the Quest Program. Together they attended the Association for Experiential Education Conference where other like minded professionals gathered to discuss the educational opportunities afforded by experiential education. The educational rational and philosophical underpinning of experiential education was embraced by this team. All they had to do now was persuade the college elders, Provost, deans and faculty chairpersons. Undoubtedly, without the continuing support of John Walker – who was able to convince President McCormick of the value of this new idea – the early efforts would most likely have foundered. It was John who came up with the name, Quest. He explained, It seemed to capture those value forming experiences that are beneficial to a student’s life at the University.

Steve Breset headed the program and steered it through 1981 when a full-time director was appointed and the program was given a permanent home in Student Life. The next important character to emerge on the scene of this fledging program was Bill Proudman who took over the reins in 1981 after Steve Breset. He was instrumental in forging a program curriculum that exemplified all the early aspirations of its founders. Bill was the right person at the right time a fortuitous event that allowed the program to grow and have an impact on the University community. Bill and students, presumably without the knowledge of some higher authorities, built office space out of what had formerly been the locker room for the University’s football team on the ground floor of Walter Simon Hall. Bill’s surreptitious creation of the office space is an example and a major point in Secretary Colin Powell’s list of leadership skills of what it sometimes takes to take on a traditional institution and create change; get it done and ask permission later.

Backing up a bit. In 1967 a small liberal arts college (Prescott College) in Arizona integrated the concepts of Outward Bound into an innovative program that replaced the traditional physical education program. The focus of the program was to develop leadership, self reliance and teamwork skills. The program, the first of its kind in the nation, received national attention from Time Magazine, CBS, NBC and ABC, and garnered the support of Dewitt Wallace, owner and founder of Readers Digest, who gave the college a large grant to further develop the program. (The founder of this program, Roy Smith, later became director of the Quest Program). This publicity attracted the attention of colleges and universities from around the country who were in interested in starting a similar program. Bloomsburg University, along with Princeton and Cornell, was one of those schools. In 1973, Roy Smith received a letter from John Walker asking if him if he would share his experiences in running the Prescott program. What is interesting about this historical morsel is that 15 years later, in 1988, Roy Smith, left Colorado and assumed directorship of the Quest Program.

By the time Roy arrived in Bloomsburg, his predecessors, the director and associate director had both moved on to other jobs and it was given to Signe Klinger – who had first participated in a Quest course two years earlier to hand over the keys and acquaint Roy with the program, its history, and the areas around Bloomsburg where courses were conducted. Signe was an invaluable link in a broken chain and was immediately promoted to Associate Director, a position she held until the birth of her first child in 1991.

In 1989, with a $10,000 start up grant from the Bloomsburg University Foundation, Roy Smith created the Corporate Institute as an adjunct to Quest and as a major revenue generating source that became the principal underlying financial support for the Quest Program. This revenue source allowed the Quest Program to improve its equipment inventory, expand its student leadership training capabilities and undertake more ambitious international experiences. The housing of the Quest Program and the Corporate Institute under one roof was a mutually beneficial undertaking. It allowed the Corporate Institute to have immediate access to a wide range of training facilities, and for the Quest program to benefit from increased revenue and a ready access to leadership and team development ideas taking place in the corporate world

The Quest program today has grown considerably in size and in the range of courses, and extended trips abroad, that we now offer not only to students at Bloomsburg University but to an extensive list of clientele from other colleges in the region, and community organizations from around the State. Much of this growth can be attributed to the outstanding work of the associate directors, who over the years, have done sterling work in training staff and coordinating a schedule of contract courses.

Nick McCormack - 2021 - Present
Brianne Oehmke - 2015 - 2021
Brett Simpson - 2009 – 2015
Roy Smith - 1988 - 2009
Chuck Connelly - 1987-1988
William Proudman - 1981-1987
Stephen Breset - 1973-1981

Brett Simpson 2001 – 2009
Tony Draus 1997 -2001
Mark Wasakoski 1996-1997
Tom Burkiewicz 1992-96
Karen Michaelson 1991-92
Signe Klinger 1989 -91
Barbara Lake 1987-8
Heidi Hammel 1986-7

Join our Team

Now accepting applications for the following:

This position is responsible for the logistics, safety and overall experience of the BU Campfire program: making sure participants are informed of all safety guidelines and ensure they are adhered to by all persons on the trip; coordinate instruction, supervision, and facilitate debriefings. The facilitator will use Team Development Area, and other venues as required, to provide an opportunity for groups to recognize and safely reach their potential. Programming will include promoting self-confidence, positive group dynamics, and the expansion of participants building a community. These individuals must be well organized, experienced, compassionate, and exceptional communicators when it comes to facilitating others.

Terms of Employment

Employment is on a casual, as needed basis. Assignments are on a first come basis; timely response to facilitation requests is required. Campfire facilitators are responsible for pre-trip preparations, facilitation of programming, and participants, and post group information processing. It is required that all Campfire & S’mores employees stay current with facilitation. As a result, facilitators must commit to at least 5 programs per year in order to stay active. Typical employment dates range from August – April. All employees are paid on an hourly basis.

Essential Requirements

Safety and Supervision: Responsible for the safety of self, staff, and participants. Work will include the proper set up and take down of course facilities. Must be able to instruct participants on proper use of equipment and structures. Uses good judgment while making independent decisions regarding all facets of the safe and effective use of the course. Understand and be able to implement the Campfire Emergency Action Plan, when necessary.  

Leadership and Planning

A facilitator is responsible for conducting a needs assessment with the participant contact, and for developing programming specific to the participants needs. Must be able to work independently, be self-motivated, and be skilled with the empowerment of others. Able to deal calmly with stressful situations and people.  

Experience

Experience facilitating or participating in group processing/planning discussions is highly sought as well as familiarity with group/team development. Facilitators must be fully trained on the Team Development local operating procedures and successfully complete and pass a recognized training program.  

Physical

Trips take place in an outdoor, adventure orientated setting. Therefore, facilitators should have the ability to perform their required duties for extended periods of time while exposed to adverse conditions including, but not limited to, rough terrain, precipitation, temperature extremes, and wind. Must be able to stand for extended periods of time and be able to lift and carry 35 pounds for extended periods of time.  

Communication

Excellent communication skills are required. Must be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to both participants and other staff members. Ability to relate and work with diverse populations of participants.  

Teamwork

Team oriented and dedicated to the goals set forth by the Campfire Program. Works as a valuable team member with others in scheduling, facilitating, and operating the course.  

Dependability

Responds to scheduling requests in a timely manner. Is reliable when scheduled. Conducts needs assessments, develops program plans, and communicates to assistant staff in a timely manner. Arrives at the facilitation site on time. Has reliable transportation to and from the facilitation site. Maintains a commitment to the success of the course. Follows local operating procedures.

Qualifications

    High School Diploma or GED
    18 Years of Age 

This position is responsible for the logistics, safety and overall experience of the BU Challenge Course program: making sure participants are informed of all safety guidelines and ensure they are adhered to by all persons on the trip; coordinate instruction, supervision, and facilitate debriefings. The facilitator will use the Challenge Course, and other venues as required, to provide an opportunity for groups to recognize and safely reach their potential. Programming will include promoting self-confidence, positive group dynamics, and the expansion of participant problem solving abilities. These individuals must be well organized, experienced, compassionate, and exceptional communicators when it comes to teaching others.

Terms of Employment

Employment is on a casual, as needed basis. Assignments are on a first come basis; timely response to facilitation requests is required. Challenge course facilitators are responsible for pre-trip preparations, facilitation of programming, supervision of assistant facilitators and participants, and post group information processing. It is required that all Challenge course employees stay current with facilitation. As a result, facilitators must commit to at least 5 programs per year in order to stay active. Typical employment dates range from August – April. All employees are paid on an hourly basis.

Essential Requirements

Safety and Supervision: Responsible for the safety of self, staff, and participants. Work will include the proper set up and take down of challenge course facilities as well as inspecting equipment and property, and documenting these inspections. Must be able to instruct participants on proper use of equipment and structures. Must supervise the programming and safety of assistant facilitators. Uses good judgment while making independent decisions regarding all facets of the safe and effective use of the course. Understand and be able to implement theChallenge Course Emergency Action Plan, when necessary.  

Leadership and Planning: A facilitator is responsible for conducting a needs assessment with the participant contact, and for developing programming specific to the participants needs. Must be able to work independently, be self-motivated, and be skilled with the empowerment of others. Able to deal calmly with stressful situations and people.  

Experience: Experience facilitating or participating in group processing/planning discussions is highly sought as well as familiarity with group/team development. Facilitators must be fully trained on the Challenge Course local operating procedures and successfully complete and pass a recognized training program.  

Physical: Trips take place in an outdoor, adventure orientated setting. Therefore, facilitators should have the ability to perform their required duties for extended periods of time while exposed to adverse conditions including, but not limited to, rough terrain, precipitation, temperature extremes, and wind. Must be able to stand for extended periods of time and be able to lift and carry 35 pounds for extended periods of time.  

Communication: Excellent communication skills are required. Must be able to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, to both participants and other staff members. Ability to relate and work with diverse populations of participants.  

Teamwork: Team oriented and dedicated to the goals set forth by the Challenge Course program. Works as a valuable team member with others in scheduling, facilitating, and operating the Challenge Course.  

Dependability: Responds to scheduling requests in a timely manner. Is reliable when scheduled. Conducts needs assessments, develops program plans, and communicates to assistant staff in a timely manner. Arrives at the facilitation site on time. Has reliable transportation to and from the facilitation site. Maintains a commitment to the success of the course. Follows local operating procedures.

Qualifications:

    BU Work Study Position
    High School Diploma or GED
    18 Years of Age  
    Current CPR and First Aid Certifications  
    ACCT Level 1 Certification + Facilitation Portfolio (or equivalent)  
        Courses are offered through BU

Required Dates of Training:

    August 28th 2020 10 AM – 3 PM
        Team Development
    September 4th – 5th 2020, 8 AM – 5 PM
        ACCT Level 1 Certification

  • Assistant Instructor
  • Instructor
  • Campfire Facilitator
  • Challenge Course Facilitator
  • Course Coordinator
  • OAO Assistant
  • OAO Leader
  • Summer Camp Instructor
  • Summer Camp Manager
  • Team Development Facilitator

Refund Policy

Registration is complete when required fee is paid.  Cancellation of your registration  at least one week prior to the date of your course will guarantee you a refund of your fee minus 20% of the course price.  If you fail to cancel by that time, you must either supply us with a paying substitute or forfeit your fee.

Weekend  Courses:
Registration is complete when required fee is paid.  Cancellation of your registration  two weeks prior to the date of your course will guarantee you a refund of your fee minus 20% of the course price.  If you fail to cancel by that time, you must either supply us with a paying substitute or forfeit your fee.

Summer Camps:
Registration is complete when required fee is paid.  Cancellation of your registration  four weeks prior to the date of your course will guarantee you a refund of your fee minus 20% of the course price.  If you fail to cancel by that time, you must either supply us with a paying substitute or forfeit your fee.

Extended Trips:

  • All Extended Trips have a non-refundable deposit to reserve your place on the trip. If for any reason Quest has to cancel the trip, this will be fully refunded.
  • If you notify the Quest office of your cancellation after the full payment has been received you will be refunded as follows:
  • If cancellation notice is received five weeks prior to the trip departure date, you will receive 75% of the balance due after the deposit.
  • If cancellation notice is received four weeks prior to the trip departure date, you will receive 50% of the balance due after the deposit.
  • For cancellations received less than four weeks prior to the trip, there can be no refund.

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