Podcast S1 E12: So you want to WORK at an Inclusive Outdoor Outfitter: What to Look For and How to Prep in the Field

May 14, 2024 | 39:25


What does inclusion mean when we're talking about how to look for an inclusive outdoor work environment? Working in the outdoor industry is unique because you're not only doing the job, you could be living with your coworkers and spending time away from the organization’s basecamp. 

Do you feel safe on the job? Do you see others that look like you — employees or customers? Are you being harassed? If we look to build our own outdoor experiences to be more diverse and inclusive this will help show what is possible for greater change rather than just accepting. 

If you're interested in being part of an organization that's a little more vibrant and inclusive, this podcast with host Candace Brendler and guests Maria Blevins and Emma Wharton will share what to look for in outdoor organizations. 


About Emma

Executive Director​, Grand Canyon Youth

After spending many years trying to combine her love of rivers with her enthusiasm for working with young people, Emma found Grand Canyon Youth (GCY), an organization that does just that. Emma has a master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington with an emphasis on community development. Her undergraduate studies focused on negotiation, service-learning, and environmental education from the University of Utah. As a parent and foster parent to three girls, Emma loves to be on the river with her family. She worked as a river guide for over ten years and believes in the transformational power of a river trip. Emma is the first and only Executive Director of GCY and has been at the helm for 21 years. During her tenure GCY has grown from a few expeditions a year to over 60 expeditions annually and has connected over 12,000 youth from diverse backgrounds to the rivers and canyons of the Southwest. She loves hearing how alumni have continued to find their experiences on the river with GCY relevant to their daily lives. She is also committed to creating access for underrepresented groups on the river.


About Maria

Associate Professor, Utah Valley University​

Maria Blevins Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of communication at Utah Valley University. Her research focuses on conflict and organizational and environmental communication. Before becoming an academic, she was a whitewater rafting guide on the New, Gauley, and Snake Rivers she also served as the River Manager on the Madison River in Montana. She has a passion for helping people enjoy rivers and the outdoors. Her current research focuses on sexual harassment in the whitewater rafting industry. She is also one of the founding members of A-DASH, an anti-discrimination organization for river professionals through the River Management Society. She received her BS in Outdoor Recreation Management from the University of Maine and Machias, MA in Communication and a certificate in Alternative Dispute Resolution for Natural Resources from the University of Montana and her Ph.D. from the University of Utah.



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