This week on episode 346 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast I’m joined by Ginny Garner from Casper College in Wyoming. Ginny and I talk about her work-life history, why she loves living in Casper, and all the great things going on in the Tourism and Recreation curriculum at Casper College. If you want to work in tourism and or recreation this is a must-listen!
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How’d you get involved with Casper College?
I sent an email to the depart department chair of business and gave him a little bit of background and said, I’d be interested in Adjuncting if there was ever an opportunity.
He emailed me back and said they just closed a full-time position for a marketing and hospitality position but they’re gonna reopen it and he wanted me to apply. And so a few weeks later, I had a teaching job. The stars aligned and that’s just how that happened.
What’s your role these days?
I am still teaching. I’m still the marketing and hospitality instructor. I oversee the marketing program, the hospitality and tourism management program, and the outdoor rec and tourism management program. I’m also the academic chair for all the business programs. So I kind of oversee the administrative piece for all the business programs that we offer on campus.
How long has the outdoor recreation and tourism program been in place?
It’s our newest program. We kicked that off right in the middle of a pandemic. I think that went into the catalogs in 2020. Obviously, we didn’t have a lot that first semester. We had a couple of students who were in hospitality and tourism so we knew the program was gonna come up, they were gonna switch over. But during the pandemic, we just kind of, as most people did, we just really had to focus on what was in front of us, making sure our current students and our current classes were meeting the goals that they needed to meet. However, over the past couple of years, we’re seeing more and more interest in that.
I saw a course titled Introduction to Outdoor Recreation Guide Outfitting. That sounds pretty fun, that’s gotta be a popular one, right?
That one you should come to. I mean, it’s only a week long. It’s taught, I think over spring break, you learn how to pack a mule.
Something we’re looking statewide to make sure we’re starting to implement that and reaching out to our high school instructors to introduce these industries as a career path, not just a summer job.
What’s living in Casper, like what do you love the most?
I love Casper. Casper’s about oh around 55,000 people. here in the city. And it’s still a small town, has that small town feel. If you lived here for 30 years, you can tell who their mama is and their siblings are. But the geography of it’s really nice too. Because we sit in this valley with a mountain to our south, where there is Snow skiing and cross country skiing and snowshoeing and snowmobiling and hiking.
And there are the waterfalls up there and all the camping and all the things to do on the mountain. And then down through town is the river. That’s where the fly fishing is. You could look down there on the weekend, starting in probably July and it’s just nothing but people. I mean, it’s amazing. World Class. People come from all over the world to fly fish here on the North Platte.
Do you have a favorite Outdoor activity?
I got a paddleboard this summer and I’m not a fisherman but I do like to get on the water. I’m a water baby. So whether you put me in front of the ocean or the lake or the river I like to be on it and in it. So anytime you can get me on the water is where I like to be. I am also a Yogi, and in the summer we do yoga by the river. So we have these parks down by the river. There’s this labyrinth and that’s where the yoga happens, and they do hiking, yoga on the mountain, all sorts of fun things.
Do you have any suggestions or advice for folks wanting to get into outdoor rec?
If you’re interested, and we do we talk about this, especially the students in outdoor rec, tourism, and hospitality but really with all of our especially business programs, especially with these two industries, is start working. Get in the job, if it is a lifeguard for your city pools if it is working at the fly shop, or cleaning up campgrounds for your county parks or state parks, just get into the industry where your interests are.
What’s your favorite outdoor gear purchase under a hundred dollars?
Anything safety related make sure you have a really good bike helmet, make sure you have a really good life jacket, you have your first aid kit, make sure you have all of these small things. I’m thinking those that keep you safe, that gets you home, make sure you have that bear spray, the bells, the things that, you know, all the things that keep safe, to get you home safely so you can continue to enjoy the outdoors.
What are some of your favorite books?
Anything by Parker Palmer.
The hospitality person and the Disney girl in me really loves Lee Cockerell’s work.
The Yogi in me really likes Stephen Copes The Great Work of your Life.
I’m also just a big fan of Desmond Tutu, No Future Without Forgiveness, and The Book of Joy.
Follow up with Ginny
For more information on our programs not only our outdoor rec and our hospitality management, any of our business, or any of our programs that are offered at Casper college you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re more than welcome to reach out to me at GGarner@caspercollege.edu.