Nicole Fenner ’09 employed at top outdoors destination

Wilderness Adventure at Eagles Landing named one of the Top 50 Places to Work by Outside magazine.

Nicole Fenner, who graduated from Roanoke College in 2009, is in her third summer working at Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in New Castle, Va. as a trip leader and now as the full-time office manager and summer program administrator. Fenner helps with marketing Wilderness Adventure's programs and coordinating and organizing the summer group programs. She spends about half her time in the office and the other half outside, leading summer groups on various excursions such as rock climbing, hiking, low-and-high ropes courses, mountain biking, kayaking and many others.

Wilderness Adventure was named one of Outside magazine's Top 50 Places to Work in 2010, and Fenner credits the "laid-back, supportive environment" for this designation. She says that the employees consider Wilderness Adventure "one big family," which makes it unlike other places. She says that although she enjoys working in the office, she also has a love of the outdoors, especially since she started out as a trip leader, taking groups on various excursions. She says she was thrown "completely out of my comfort zone" by the job and found it "amazing that I'm being paid to rock climb."

Fenner majored in English at Roanoke and credits this and her student assistantship in the public relations office with her ability to write for the Wilderness Adventure website and check grammar in e-mails, online postings, etc. before they go out. She says her directors regularly ask her opinion when writing for media outlets because of her background.

Although life after college is very different, Fenner is enjoying herself immensely. She credits her "incredible support system" for helping her through the transition and says that although she made "no preparations" for the change, she was able to handle it through her work family. "I'm lucky I'm here and not in a foreign place or job where I don't know anyone," she says.

On the Wilderness Adventure website, a description of Fenner says that "we had our doubts about this girly girl but she has proved to be a tough cookie both on the trail and off." Fenner says that although she still gets made fun of for her "sorority girl" inclinations, she doesn't mind being called a girly girl because she "can be both." She says that she proved herself during college at her two-week orientation, became a trip leader and then returned every summer, eventually leading her to the full-time job and a close-knit family of friends.

Released: June 8, 2011