TROY — Upper Valley Project SEARCH took a journey on the wild side recently with interns participating in an autumn outdoor leadership and team building program.
Project SEARCH is a one-year, high school transition program that provides training and education with the goal of competitive community employment for individuals with disabilities.
Eight Upper Valley Project SEARCH interns currently serving at Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) and Koester Pavilion recently engaged in a series of outdoor adventures coordinated by the Wilderness Inquiry Canoe Mobile program, a non-profit organization that provides all people access to the outdoors. The interns received employment-related skills from this opportunity including: interviewing, dealing with others, team building, mobility, defining and overcoming fears, and making healthy life choices.
The interns included Juli Diehl and Courtney Kruger of Tipp City, Jesse Divens and Joey Trisler of Sidney, Haylee Jacobe of Greenville, Kaylee Puckett of Fairlawn, Mikayla Ryder of Jackson Center, and Michael Schulze of Anna.
This is the eighth year for the Upper Valley Project SEARCH collaboration between the Upper Valley Career Center; UVMC; Koester Pavilion; Boards of Developmental Disabilities in Miami, Darke and Shelby counties; Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities; and Capabilities Inc.
The recent wilderness program was held on land and water. Participants spent part of one day on the UVMC campus working on team building and leadership activities, which included tent set up and tear down and other thought-provoking exercises. The goals were to develop a realization of ways to exercise, problem solve, relax with friends, and recognize the beauty of the environment and the desire to seek out other local outdoor opportunities.
“These activities empower the interns to problem solve, define personal space and develop a real sense of what they bring to the table,” said Patti Moore, Project SEARCH coordinator. “The UVMC campus provides a great learning environment.”
Other activities included paddle safety instruction, exposure to public parks and time paddling in canoes on the Great Miami River.
“The Wilderness Inquiry program went beyond my expectations for interns to be empowered. I love my job and desire that each person with a disability has the same opportunity to discover what they are born to do,” Moore said. “This wilderness experience has opened doors, empowered these interns, and has made a lasting impression that is affecting their personal career journey.”
To learn more about Upper Valley Project Search, call 440-7431. For further information about the Wilderness Inquiry Canoe Mobile program, visit WildernessInquiry.org.