River Riders Employee Highlight
The Guide Life: Behind the Thrills with Kaitlyn Unger
Our employee highlight for this month is so good, it’s like we staged it.
Except we didn’t.
Kaitlyn Unger simply answered our questions honestly, and basically…our job of selling the adventure industry is now done!
Seriously, let’s just let Kaitlyn talk. Finishing up her 4th season with us, Kaitlyn loves her interaction with guests as a River Guide, and in her answers below touches on some very important elements of the adventure industry.
Question: What was your history before River Riders?
Answer: “To be honest, I was scared of everything involving adventure until I came to River Riders as a kid for the Outdoor Adventure Camp. It really opened my eyes to learning about safety precautions, so that you can safely have a great time on the water. Learning about trusting my gear was the hardest part.”
See, we love this! At River Riders, we are so passionate about safety and quality gear, because we know when we’re safe, it allows for so much more adventure!
Question: How did you get into the guiding/adventure related industry?
Answer: “I was first introduced to this company (River Riders) around 8 years old when I attended the Summer Camp. I had so much fun that I told all my friends about my week of adventure. Later, I started dating a rafting guide that worked here, and he ended up bringing me to a New Year’s get together at the Campground. I didn't even work there at the time, but the people at the party made me feel so welcome. At that point, I realized the community/family aspect I had been missing out on, and I decided to apply. I am so grateful I did. This place has become my safe haven, my adrenaline rush, my family gathering, and everything I never knew I needed.”
Wow…tearing up. We love having you as part of our ‘family’.
Question: What’s the first memory you have of an adrenaline rush when you were a child?
Answer: “My first glimpse into adrenaline was cliff jumping with my Uncle Stuart. He always pushed me to trust my reactions and to trust the water.”
It’s that whole trust your instinct thing, and we agree! Don’t push past your comfort zone, but trust in yourself and your surroundings.
Question: What’s the absolute craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Answer: “The craziest thing I've ever done was fly my Uncle’s plane! Once we got up to proper altitude, he let me steer for about 10 minutes! My heart was racing the whole time. After that, we practiced stall-outs .... let's just say I prefer to keep both feet on solid ground.”
And by solid ground do you mean the rolling rapids of the river?! Sounds like you’re just a bit more amphibious than aviator.
Question: Most awkward moment on the river. Go…
Answer: “You want me to pick just ONE?! Oh boy ... I would say my most awkward moments have included me swimming in flat water, then when it's time to get back in the raft, my guests will often want to help pull me back in. I tell them “No it's okay, I've got it”, but they just grab my shoulder straps and struggle to pull me in. Because it’s next to impossible to pull someone in with their life jacket on, I end up hanging there feeling like an awkward fish at the end of a line. When they finally get me over the side after numerous attempts, I awkwardly flop into the bottom of the boat ... very unpleasant for both parties.”
We hear ya…there’s just no graceful way to get back in a raft. But that adds to the adventure all the more!
Question: What would you say to someone that wants adventure but doesn’t know how to make the time for it?
Answer: “Adventure isn’t going to wait around for you. You've got to get yourself out there and take chances. Instead of planning that day to relax, plan that day around learning more about yourself by getting up close and personal with your fears.”
Love it! Don’t let your fears define you…let them push you to be better.
Question: What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Answer: “Big glass of Almond Milk, banana and some coffee. My appetite normally doesn't kick in till after I get off the river.”
And then we’re sure it hits full force. Good thing we have some great food options around here!
Question: How do you relax?
Answer: “Relax? What does that mean? Don't you know that if you live the life of a Raft guide, all your free moments are filled with shenanigans and adventuring with your friends. I like to take my dog for sunrise and sunset walks. It's nice to find an open, secluded, quiet spot to just take a deep breath.”
Haha, well that’s true. That’s why you guys are just so fun – because to you, all of life is an adventure and relaxing means finding more of it!
Question: What’s an adventure or destination on your bucket list?
Answer: “One of my goals is to eventually take my camper on a cross country adventure. BUT I never know what life has in store for me. Every day seems to become an adventure one way or another. I love my life and I strive to make it the best.”
Big dreams, chill expectations…makes for a pretty happy life. We like your style, Kaitlyn!
Kaitlyn, we are stoked to have you as part of our team and family. You make us all better and you remind us why we do what we do!
If hearing Kaitlyn’s answers makes you want to hang out with the raft guides as much as it does us, then make sure you plan your rafting trip for next year.
Don’t forget that we have BOGO Gift Cards available starting on Black Friday for our Christmas gift specials. Come back on Black Friday to get yours!