OLP has a highly talented instructional staff with very muddy boots, including nationally certified instructor trainers, authors in the field, national champions, and international guides. They’re an unusually committed crew–some have worked for the program for 20 years! All of our instructors combine a high skill level in their specialty areas with a passion for teaching in the outdoors. In awarding national accreditation to OLP, the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) cited the outstanding commitment among its dozen part-time staff members as integral to the program’s success. Your OLP group will spend the whole year with several core instructors as well as with specialists who share their expertise for specific periods of time. By spending time with them, you’ll learn from their experience in the industry, their technical skills, as well as from their diverse teaching styles.
Austin Paulson, Coordinator, lives with his wife and two kids in Northfield, MA. He has worked as an instructor-trainer for the Outdoor Leadership Program for more than two decades. In addition to his work with OLP, Austin is the founding owner and chief guide for Peak Expeditions, an international high altitude mountain guiding business. He has guided more than 100 international expeditions and projects worldwide including Alaska, Newfoundland, Iceland, Africa, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Mexico, and Argentina. As a former consultant and instructor-trainer with Project Adventure, Inc. and High Five Adventure Learning, Austin also maintains a strong interest in Challenge Course facilitation and management. He is keenly interested in leadership development, risk management, and small business entrepreneurship. He maintains professional membership with the American Mountain Guides Association, Professional Climbing Instructors Association, the American Canoe Association, and the Association for Experiential Education. Austin specializes in the technical skills of rock, ice and alpine climbing, backcountry skiing, wilderness travel, and hazardous terrain rescue.
Evan Perkins of Bethlehem N.H. has been bringing his skills as a paddler, wilderness guide and counselor to the Outdoor Leadership Program, since 1997. As a certified canoe instructor trainer for the American Canoe Association he works to certify students in flat water and white water paddling. Evan has canoed and kayaked over 8000 miles through arctic and sub arctic North America. Along with many personal expeditions Evan has led four 60-80 day unsupported canoe expeditions into the most remote wilderness areas on the continent, the Arctic Barrens of Canada’s Nunauut and Northwest Territories. Evan has also worked for many years as a wilderness therapy counselor for different organizations including the Connecticut Wilderness School and Summit Achievement of Stowe, M.E. Through his study of the natural world and wilderness survival skills, he brings his wealth of experience into the class room, helping students develop the core skills they need to be outdoor leaders.
Kate Carcio brings an enthusiastic energy to the Outdoor Leadership Program, with a background in whitewater paddling and backcountry travel. She started her outdoor leadership career in 2000 as a sailing instructor, earning over 1,200 hours towards her captain’s license while sailing from Denmark to the Canary Islands. Kate is an accomplished backcountry leader with many trips nationally and internationally, including an extended backpacking expedition through the Austrian Alps. She completed several advanced whitewater rafting trips where she found her passion for white water, becoming a rafting guide and trip leader. Kate is a certified ACA white water canoe instructor. Kate has also served the outdoor industry as a challenge course facilitator and builder, rock climbing instructor, climbing school coordinator, head guide for zip-line tours, and snowboard school instructor and supervisor. She holds a Bachelors degree in Education. Kate has been an instructor trainer for the Outdoor Leadership Program since 2007 where she specializes in multi-modal backcountry travel, canoeing and swift water rescue. She continues to be active and passionate about experiential education and brings her skills and love of the outdoors to OLP. She lives in Shelburne Falls with her spouse and dog, bringing to practice her passion for sustainable living.
Sean Barrett is living the climber’s life out of his remote cabin in Wendell, MA. He has been a climbing instructor and mountaineering guide for the Outdoor Leadership Program since 2007. In addition to his work with OLP, Sean works as professional EMT and has completed his requirements for Paramedic certification. He is certified by the Professional Climbing Instructors Association and since graduating from the OLP program, Sean’s life has been consumed by his passion for climbing and teaching. He can be found at local cliffs 4-5 days per week. His enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge and skills is infectious.
Lisa Faulkingham Hunt completed the OLP in 1997 and has been in the facility-based adventure programming field ever since. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Lisa returned in an instructional capacity to OLP in 2008, teaching the challenge course component. She spent a decade working full time for Project Adventure, Inc as a Senior Trainer and Consultant where she taught “train the trainer” workshops around the country and abroad in the areas of physical education, fitness, health and wellness and technical skills and standards; co-authored four curriculum based Adventure texts, inspected Challenge Courses, as well as working directly with many school age populations Lisa authored PA’s accreditation report for the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) multiple times and has expertise in program design, licensure and certification standards. Currently Lisa works part time for the Academy at Swift River, and does consulting work for the Browne Center at the University of New Hampshire, Project Adventure and High Five Adventure Learning Center (where she serves on the Program Advisory Board). Lisa is deeply committed to the adventure learning process; and enjoys bringing the adventure home to her two children and spouse in the Pioneer Valley.
Daryl Essensa spent 17 years teaching adventure curricula in private and public schools in Massachusetts before transitioning to training teachers and other youth professionals in 2004. Daryl’s last years of public school service were spent in an urban school teaching outdoor education courses in winter survival, backpacking, rock climbing, canoeing and challenge course programming. She has been an educational trainer and consultant at Project Adventure, Inc. and more recently at High Five Adventure Learning Center. She has taught undergraduate outdoor education and physical education at Georgia College and State University. Daryl’s most recent adventure is pursuing a doctoral degree in teacher education and school improvement in the School of Education at UMass Amherst. She is a regular presenter at state, regional and international conferences of the Association of Experiential Education, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)
and the Association of Challenge Course Technology (ACCT). Daryl resides in Greenfield with her family where she loves to climb the large sugar maple in her yard.
Laurie Gullion of Deerfield, NH has completed 11 whitewater canoeing expeditions to Arctic and sub-Arctic rivers in the U.S., Canada, Norway, and Finland–paddling almost 10,000 miles in remote regions since 1980. An avid photographer, Laurie has authored seven books on canoeing, kayaking, Nordic and Alpine skiing, including the national text used by the American Canoe Association in its certification programs. Her most recent book, Canoeing: A Woman’s Guide, includes the reflections of more than 100 women, some of whom have been paddling for 60 years. She has taught OLP students since 1982, specializing in canoeing, skiing, and backcountry travel trips. She is a former coordinator of the Outdoor Leadership Program at Greenfield Community College and currently is a full time faculty member in Outdoor Education at the University of New Hampshire .