Bradford Woods as a Global Partner
Most people that come to Bradford Woods at some point have made contact with our International staff. I first came to Bradford Woods from Malaysia in 2000. For some people Malaysia seems like a pretty exotic place and many have no idea where it is. Malaysia is a Southeast Asia country occupying parts of the Malay Peninsula and the island of Borneo. It’s known for its beaches, jungle, rainforest and mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences. It is a great place for vacation and great foods (except the fruit named “Durian,” the king of fruit, loved only by the locals). Since beginning my work here in 2000, Bradford woods has hired many International staff through the exchange scholar program courtesy of Indiana University and the IU Office of International Services. We train these staff to be the best in this outdoor industry, so when they go back to their home countries, we hope they can spread their knowledge and experience globally.
Because of what we do and the volume of International staff we work with, the word started to spread about our program, sometime in November of 2017, I got an email from an old friend asking if I’m interested in conducting a training for his staff at one of his camps, OUTBAC Broga, in Malaysia. He asked if the training could be similar to how we train our staff, and I asked him — why us? He said he had heard lots of great things about Bradford Woods and how we train our staff, and he wants his staff to gain knowledge and new ways to facilitate programs. He also wanted to certify his staff as Level 1 USA Archery Instructors, and I’m a Level 2 USA Archery Instructor that can lead certification courses. Clearly, they also needed someone that could speak the Malay language since some of their staff are not strong in the English language.
I’m truly grateful to work for an organization with great people and leaders that supported me doing the training in Malaysia. This was an opportunity to spread my knowledge globally that I learned from Bradford Woods, plus visit my family and friends. The time is also perfect for traveling because Bradford Woods was on break while this is going on! Word spread on social media that I would be traveling back to Malaysia, and I got another email from my other old friend from Philippines asking if I will be stopping by his country. To be honest, I owed the Philippines a visit knowing that every season as long as I can remember, we have had at least one international staff from the Philippines working with us.
Trip to Cebu, Philippines
So, I did plan a few days in Cebu, Philippines. I will say this is one of my favorites trip by far! I didn’t just get to see some old friends, but I also got to meet some of our future staff and do some interviews for the position that they are applying for in our upcoming season! Another previous staff even traveled from Manila just to spend time with us! This is about a 3 hour flight from Manila City to Cebu City. It just goes to show the community and family that gets built while working at Bradford Woods.
On the second day one of our good friends, Bre Segundo, planned an island hopping adventure with some of his students and future Bradford Woods staff. Bre is working with the University in Cebu. He is one of the faculty staff in the Department of Psychology, and he is also owner and lead facilitator of his company called 2XPLORE Outdoor Classroom. His passion in this outdoor industry made him one of the people that I admire most. Bre previously worked at Bradford Woods as a Professional Outdoor Instructor. We started our journey in a small boat due to the low tides. The small boat will take us to the big boat that we rented for the day. Of course Bre, always the facilitator, started ”Get to Know You” activities to fill up the time before we boarded the big boat. The trip to the Philippines was a quick trip, but they made sure the schedule was packed. I felt like a professor checking on my students to see how they are doing fter their experience working at Bradford Woods. I have known some of them for over 10 years, and all the previous staff I connected with during my trip to the Philippines said Bradford Woods changed them in some way to be better outdoor instructors and how they appreciate the training that we do.
OUTBAC Broga experience in Malaysia
OUTBAC Broga is located in Lenggeng, Negeri Sembilan Malaysia and is one of the few camps in the area that provides service to school, youth, corporate and religious groups. Most of the camps surrounding the area provide the same activities as OUTBAC Broga from team building to recreation based activities like archery or standup paddling; so to be the best among their competitors, OUTBAC Broga camp conducts professional development training to all of its staff for free. It is six days of training with two parts: USA Archery Level 1 Instructor Course and Facilitations/Debriefing in Experiential Education.
USA Archery Level 1 Instructor Course
The first couple of days in OUTBAC Broga were learning about archery and most of them know how to shoot bow and arrows, but the course that I provide from USA Archery will take them to the next level in knowing how to facilitate archery programs. The course only requires about 8 hours, but because the number of participants and English being their second language to most of them, the class was stretched to three days. Every morning started with the routine of practicing the 11 steps of shooting. This process starts with their stance, through nocking the arrow and on to the last step of giving feedback to the archer. This also helps them to be a better instructor/facilitator as it requires them to observe and communicate. The USA Archery Level 1 Instructor course ends with an exam. They need 85% to pass, and all of them scored over 89%.
Facilitation and Debriefing Technique
The second part of the training will be talking about facilitation and the importance for debriefing after the program and learning about sequencing when facilitating team-building activities. The staff at OUTBAC Broga know how to facilitate team building programs, but not everyone is comfortable with debriefing, especially when working with corporate groups. It is nerve wracking to talk with a group of older and intelligent people when you are only 21-23 years old. Most of this outlook comes from the culture in Malaysia. I remember when I was younger being taught not to question grandpa or any other older person, even if you know that there are other ways to solve a problem.
Working and teaching them ways to connect with different groups and cultures through activities is fun and interesting. From my perspective, after being in American for nearly 20 years, I am used to a culture where you did not talk about someone’s body weight during facilitation, but in Malaysia it is different. The training that I did is not asking them to change their culture, but to be aware and recognize other cultures and create a safe and inclusive program for everyone through Experiential Education.
What I gained from my trip
This trip taught me a lot about culture and diversity. The experiences in the Philippines alone were phenomenal. When a Filipino person said “don’t worry, we will take care of you”, they really meant it. From a place to stay to the food – it was amazing! Both countries that I visited are beautiful with cultures, people, landscapes, and of course the food! Bradford Woods is the place where I started having global friends, and I’m so lucky and blessed now that if I get stuck somewhere around the world, I likely have a friend close.
I had a great time sharing my passion and the place that I work in the hope that I spark some interest and inspire someone to want to learn more in this outdoor industry. I hope they want us to do staff development training, USA Archery, WFR/WFA, Lifeguard, LNT, Disability Awareness and more for them. Bradford Woods provides it all, and I’m not the only one with this great passion; most of the people I work with at Bradford Woods are capable of doing this training and inspiring others. I am glad I got this particular chance!
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