Katie Powell

Katie graduated WAC in the spring of 2021. She moved up to Port McNeil and started working as a kayak guide for Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures.

What is your favourite part about being a guide?

Watching people have experiences that they have never had, ones that, as a guide, you have all the time. It helps you not take it for granted. Sharing that moment is special and a privilege. When people attribute part of their amazing experience to your efforts feels really great. 

This season seemed to be a journey of healing for a lot of people and the trip was a means of restoration. Having that intention infused in a trip really made the experience emotional and I felt that the emotionality of the job is really important.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

Every trip has long hours. It’s not a 9-5 job, you are finished when the job is done. It also requires a lot of technical skill that holds a lot of responsibility and consequences if you make a mistake. Self doubt can be a huge risk, so you have to be confident and focused at all times.  It seems that you have to be great at your job all the time.” 

My best moments of the summer were all the human interactions. The connections I made with the guests as they revealed that their lives were changed while on the trip was really rewarding. I know that there are people that came who will never forget the trip for the rest of their lives.

What advice would you give future students?

Apply for jobs earlier than you think. The certifications you get by the end really puts you ahead and gives you a better scope of what’s possible in the industry. Secondly, be open to learning and failing at things.  It’s the place to do that safely. When you get into the real world you will be prepared.

How did the program help you prepare for the field?

I never really liked the kayaking part of the program. I didn’t feel like I was any good. But when I started guiding I realized I had all the skills and experience in my tool box.It definitely prepared me more than if I had just taken a single course.  I realized that my training and ability was exactly what I needed to deal with each situation.

The program was great for building my confidence. It was a learning environment where I could see myself improving and succeeding. I now know I can be independent in the wilderness and take care of myself. What is clear to me is that those qualities of leadership were always there in my personality. The program gave me the skills to be able to show that to others and myself.  Originally, my impression of the adventure tourism  industry was male dominated in a mold that I would never be. Now because of my skills and experience, I am seen and heard.