Personal Skills of a Raft Guide
Today at work you must transform a grown man’s fear and apprehension into a comfortable enthusiasm. You will follow the commands and direction from co-workers while also leading others with precise instruction. You have to restrain trepidations of your own and instill a sense of confidence in a group of strangers. Most of all, you will show others how any day can be a good one.
River raft guides must do all this and more every day at work. Jobs in the rafting industry not only develop a set of specific hard skills but also a broad range of personal skills. Raft guides work with a huge variety of people in a setting that rapidly fluctuates in intensity from high to low energy every day. This character development is one of the many benefits of becoming a raft guide, creating a lasting work ethic and high customer service standards that nearly every employer will recognize as invaluable.
The participants and guides of every river trip come together to form a team. This team must work together as a whole and as individuals, responding to guidance and constantly working together. A good team will provide an entertaining and safe experience for everyone involved.
The raft guides must be the first to demonstrate proper teamwork skills so that guests will be able to follow. Guides learn to work with each other, setting differences aside, for the good of the group. From there, guides will turn their own rafts into a smaller team, able to follow commands and work together smoothly.
“Guiding a raft without teamwork skills will result in chaos,” remarks raft guide Amos Ludwig. Chaos on the river turns a possibly wonderful experience into an unsafe nightmare. Guides learn to create a team, no matter what type of person is involved.
Guides must also learn to trust each other, as well as insure that others can place trust in them. This trust enables the guides to make decisions without questioning the skills and abilities of their team. Guides must demonstrate that they can be relied on to maintain a safe environment and are able to make quick decisions based on sound judgment that follows the standards of the rafting company. Youghiogheny guide Callie Morgigno reiterates that “you have to trust the people around you, and make sure that you are doing your job well enough so they can trust you.”
After meeting people from every walk of life, a raft guide learns to relate to people in a positive and uplifting way. Every guest comes to the river for a unique and enjoyable experience. It is up to the raft guide to provide them with the most positive and fun day they can.
From cheerleaders to businessmen, guides learn the importance of relating to each group of guests separately and appropriately, according to Amos. He emphasizes that “you don’t want to tell raunchy jokes to girl scouts or church groups, and you don’t want to bore a group of frat kids with a natural history lesson.” Raft guides learn how to read their customers and adapt their instruction and commentary aptly.
Callie bases her interactions with rafting clients on the idea that good moods are contagious. Guests may come to the river scared, angry, unhappy or depressed; bringing with them all the problems they face in their daily lives. A skilled raft guide learns how to turn these negative attitudes around, possibly instilling this skill in his own clients. By just keeping a “happy and talkative” demeanor, guests will subconsciously relax and begin to see the beauty around them.
As guides learn to work as a team, trust each other and positively relate to their guests; they inherently develop a sense of confidence in themselves and their abilities. At the end of the day, every guide can see first-hand the effect he has had on his guests.
Raft guide jobs can completely transform individuals into dedicated, reliable and passionate team member.