When Brayden Olson transferred to Boise State in the fall of 2021 from a school in Utah, he wasn’t necessarily looking for an on-campus job. But proximity to home (and all the outdoor activities that Idaho has to offer) made Boise State his new home nonetheless. When a job listing for the Outdoor Program’s trip leader opened up, it was an opportunity too far up his alley to turn down.
Anything and everything outdoors has been a part of Brayden’s life forever, growing up in Sun Valley, Idaho. In fact, the day he applied for the trip leader position, he took off for a week-long kayaking trip. Upon return — and getting the job! — he had a one-day turnaround before going back out for another seven days of backpacking training with the Outdoor Program. But he wouldn’t have it any other way. As Brayden put it, “it’s easy to work when work is something you’re passionate about.”
This is something that becomes super clear the longer you talk with Brayden. Aside from studying finance full-time as a junior, he’s also president of the Kayak Club — a new organization he’s helped to create during his short time at Boise State.
Seven months later, he’s now a Trips Manager and has been on nearly two dozen excursions across Idaho and beyond.
His favorite trip was spring break 2022, where he and 24 others spent their time away from the classroom backpacking through California’s Redwood National Forest and Lost Coast.
For Brayden, the chance to do what he loves for work and meet new people has been the highlight of his time in the Outdoor Program. “The community, connections, and seeing people become comfortable outdoors has been the most rewarding parts of being a Trip Leader.” He spoke highly of a diverse group of students, after going on a recent trip, and the friendships that formed (and are still going strong) long after everyone returned to campus. Whether it be active outdoor-themed group chats or just saying “hi” to others in between classes, these meaningful relationships are something that Brayden hasn’t taken for granted.
Brayden and the Outdoor Program want all students to know that no experience is necessary. Even if you’ve never been backpacking, snow-shoeing, or even hiking before, Brayden emphasized it’s all about “cool adventures in a safe environment” and learning outdoor skills that you can then take with you on your own. Brayden thinks it’s important to know that he and others are “trip leaders, not guides” and everyone has the chance to feel completely comfortable with their outdoor skills after returning . And with experienced trip leaders like Brayden at the helm, any participants can rest assured they’re in for a fun, informative, and safe experience no matter what trip you sign up for. Whether it be learning what to pack for, valuable safety knowledge, learning how to cook off-the-grid, or even how to pitch a tent, the Outdoor Program’s trip leaders can offer a wealth of advice for outdoor pros or first-timers alike.
They have a full calendar of excursions for the semester you can check out and sign up for based on your schedule.
Brayden has learned a ton of professional skills as a Trip Leader. While he’s practically an expert on the outdoors, teaching that know-how to others as well as general team-building and management are new things he’s learned which he expects to use in his future career.
Adventure has always been in Brayden’s blood. Nevertheless, it’s a scary thing to move your life somewhere new, try and find your people, and do what you can to make our Bronco community even better than it was before, but Brayden makes it look easy. When he talks about the Outdoor Program, it brings a warm smile to his face. It’s easy to see how much the Outdoor Program means to him. It seems, through the program, Brayden has found joy and purpose, and that’s what he hopes to pass on to the rest of our Boise State community.