New Summer Outdoor Adventure Programs

April 12, 2011

For families, Adults and Outdoors Professionals

Whether you’re an adult wanting to try a new outdoor sport, part of a family looking for a fun outdoor adventure, or an outdoor professional seeking to increase your rescue and search skills, Greenfield Community College is the place to be this summer. GCC’s summer credit-free outdoor adventure offerings include rock climbing, tree climbing, and high line tours for adults and families, as well as workshops on swift water rescue, fundamentals of high angle rope rescue, and modern search management for outdoor professionals.

Austin Paulson, Coordinator of GCC’s Outdoor Leadership, will coordinate the summer outdoor programs. Paulson said, “GCC is committed to providing fun, wholesome family outdoor recreation with a healthy fitness orientation. With the rock climbing, tree climbing, and high line tours, nature is the attraction. Each provides an opportunity to have an intimate experience with the natural world that is seemingly beyond the reach of most people, whether it is rock cliffs, tall trees, or waterfalls.”

While the recreational programs are designed for summer fun, this summer’s GCC outdoor workshop offerings aren’t all just for recreation. The professional development workshops in rescue and search management techniques will be of interest to outdoor professionals, people who volunteer and work in emergency services, and outdoor enthusiasts wanting more skills. Paulson said, “GCC is committed to providing affordable opportunities for people in our community to enhance their technical outdoor skills.”

GCC President Bob Pura said, “We are pleased to expand our summer offerings in response to growing demand from people in our community. It is understandable that, in this economy, more people are staying closer to home and seeking nearby recreational and professional development opportunities. These new programs will help us meet that community need.”

For more information about GCC’s summer outdoor adventure programming, contact Austin Paulson at (413) 775-1126 or To register for these workshops, visit GCC’s Community Education website at

 Summer 2011 Workshop Details:

 For Adults:

Learn to Rock Climb: Experience the basics of rock climbing in a no-pressure and fun-filled atmosphere. You will learn climbing knots and basic anchoring, managing the belay rope, and climbing movement fundamentals. We provide expert instruction and guidance so that all you need to do is climb, climb, climb! Instructor: Sean Barrett Dates: 7/30, 8/13/, 8/20, Cost: $110

 Recreational Tree Climbing For Adults: Tree climbing is not just for kids anymore. Using rock climbing and arborist’s techniques, climbing trees has become a safe and popular recreational activity for those who find beauty in the majesty of trees. Simple to learn techniques make this a fun and exciting pursuit for those with modest physical fitness. Price includes all equipment needed and instruction by a certified instructor. All you need to bring is a sense of adventure. Instructor: Austin Paulson. Dates: 7/23, 8/6; Cost: $75

 For Families:

Family Climbing Adventure: Spend a day together sharing an exciting and challenging experience. Experience the thrill of rock climbing and some of the most spectacular views in the area. Kids and adults will learn the basics of climbing knots, safety rope management, and movement on rock. Price includes a certified instructor and equipment for one Adult and Child pair for a full day of climbing. Ages 8+. Instructor: Sean Barrett. Dates: 7/23, 8/6, 8/20. Cost: $150 for parent/child; $45 per extra person

Family Tree Climbing Adventure: Tree climbing enables a uniquely intimate experience with the natural environment that can be shared with the family. Simple to learn rope access techniques allow young children and their parents to ascend into the tops of arborist cleaned and certified trees. All equipment and instruction by a certified instructor will be provided. All you need is modest fitness and a desire to have a great time! Instructor: Austin Paulson. Dates: 7/30, 8/13; Cost: $125 for parent/child; $35 per extra person

For Adults and Families:

High Line and Via Ferratta Tour: Using horizontal tyrolean traverses, rope bridges, and other rope techniques, participants will be able to experience some of the most unique natural environments in western Massachusetts. The tours will take place around, above, and in some of the most scenic chasms and waterfalls in the area. Be prepared to get wet! These full day tours will be led by professional guides using canyoneering and rock climbing techniques to position participants for an unparalleled, intimate perspective of these geologic wonders. Instructor: Austin Paulson. Dates: 7/31, 8/14; Cost: $110 or for Family Events: $150 for parent/child; $45 per extra person.

For Outdoor Professionals and Interested Adults:

Fundamentals of High Angle Rope Rescue: This high angle rescue workshop will introduce participants to fundamental safety principles of working with heights. The rescuer will learn about team leadership, rescue equipment, and technical content and systems including knots, anchors, raises, lowers and high lines. Participants will gain valuable hands-on experience performing these skills in challenging environments. In this three-day, 24 hour workshop, participants will be exposed to various live scenarios in hazardous terrain requiring problem solving and patient care skills. Rescuers will exit this workshop with a solid foundation to build on, preparing them to pursue technician certification. Instructor: Austin Paulson. Wednesday through Friday, June 22 – 24, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, cost: $325.

Swift River Rescue: This workshop teaches recognition and avoidance of common river hazards, execution of self-rescue techniques and rescue techniques for paddlers in distress. Emphasis is placed both on personal safety and on simple, commonly used skills. Techniques for dealing with hazards that carry greater risks for both victim and rescuer – such as strainers, rescue vest applications, entrapments and pins – also will be practiced. Scenarios will provide an opportunity for participants to practice their skills both individually and within a team/group context. Instructor: Evan Perkins. Friday to Sunday, June 17-19, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Cost: $325.

Modern Search Management (MSM) is an introduction to the knowledge and skill sets needed for effectively managing a search for a lost person. The 32 hour course covers: Principles of Search Management (Leadership, the Incident Command System, Preplans and Resources); Search Planning (Gathering Information, Establishing the Search Area, Initial Response, Predicting Lost Person Behavior, Clues, Setting Search Priorities); Managing Operations (Search Tactics, Measuring Search Coverage, Shifting Probabilities, Briefing and Debriefing, Documentation, Suspending a Search, Demobilization); and other considerations including managing Incident Facilities, Searcher Stress, and External Influences. The course is appropriate for all levels of search management and field experience. Required text is “Managing the Lost Person Incident (Second Edition, 3rd Printing)” published by the National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR). Instructor: Dan O’Connor. Saturday & Sunday, June 25-26 and July 9-10, 9:00 am-5:00 pm, Cost: $399.

To register for workshops online, anytime, visit GCC’s Community Education website at or call 413-775-1803.

By Mary McClintock, ’82