Abdulmalik Daud joined Wilderness Inquiry’s Outdoor Career Academy after hearing about the opportunity during an Earth Club meeting at Harding High School in Saint Paul. Abdul’s family came to Minnesota from Nigeria six years ago, and he was excited at the opportunity to try camping and canoeing for the first time. His love for the outdoors has shaped how he views his future. Abdul shares more in a recent interview:
Tell me a bit about yourself. My name is Abdulmalik Daud. I’m 17 years old and I came to the U.S. six years ago and I currently live with my parents and three sisters in Saint Paul, Minnesota. I went to Frost Lake Elementary School and Battle Creek Middle School and I’m currently attending Harding Senior High School as a senior.
How did you learn about OCA? I heard about OCA when Wilderness Inquiry came to Harding Earth Club and did a presentation about getting outdoor leadership skills, participating in hands-on activities like canoeing and job opportunities through OCA.
Why did you get involved in the program? The main reason I got involved was because we were going to be camping and canoeing. I had never went camping before and it was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Tell me about your experience with OCA:
- What did participating mean to you? It means that I will be able to use the skills I learned, such as CPR, First AID, teamwork, canoeing and outdoor survival skills to become a better outdoor leader. Before my choice to participate in OCA, I didn’t have any prior experience in the outdoors, besides passing by it in a car and biking in the trails by my house. Thanks to OCA, I was able to get the experiences in being in the outdoors and getting to enjoy and experience new things.
- What skills did you learn? Some of the skills I learned were canoeing, CPR, First AID, teamwork, outdoor survival skills, cooking skills, and how to get the most out of the wilderness. Also, l learned about the different majors l could possibly major in when I’m in college to expand my interest in the outdoor and my love for nature.
- How will you use those skills moving forward? I will use or have been using the skills I’ve learned by implementing them on my trips to the wilderness as well as using them to help make my community a better place.
- How has it affected your life or the decisions you’ve made? Many of the decisions I’ve made about what I want to do for my future were affected by OCA. It was what got me involved in Wilderness Inquiry in the first place and my interest in the outdoors has increased since then. Before OCA, I never thought that it would be possible for me to go canoeing or camping, but now, it is what inspired me to want to go to places like Glacier and have a dream to one day climb Mt. Everest. Thanks to OCA, I was able to begin my outdoors adventures now and getting the experience to get others engaged in nature as well.
- If you could state the importance of the OCA in one sentence, what would it be? Outdoor Career Academy is not just to get youth engaged in the outdoors, but to build the foundation for each and every individual to take the next step to begin constructing their engagement in the wilderness.
Do you currently have a job? For the summer of 2017 and 2018, I worked in the warehouse for Wilderness Inquiry, to help build on my skills and increase my involvement in the outdoors. Working with Wilderness Inquiry over the last two summers has taught me the necessary skills be an independent outdoor explorer, taught me some hands-on skills and the importance of teamwork. Because of Wilderness Inquiry, I made new friends and I got to share my summer with them.
Have you gone on any Wilderness Inquiry trips? I was able to go on some Wilderness Inquiry trips. One of the trips I was part of was the trip to the Apostle Island base camp. It was my favorite trip because I was able to canoe, hike and kayak. I gained new experiences, as well as meet new people. I implement the knowledge I gained from OCA to help lead the trip. But recently over this summer, I was able to go to Yellowstone with my school Earth Club. We saw many buffalos, geysers, mudpots, as well as many cool things that nature can offer. Thanks to Wilderness Inquiry, we were able to experience things that we had never experienced before and learn about nature as well as about each other.
What’s next for you? After High School, I plan on attending college and come back to Wilderness Inquiry every summer as an Outdoor Leader.
Interview by guest blogger, Alison Spencer.
Abdul was one of 1,200 youth who participated in employment training with Wilderness Inquiry this year. Provide education and career experiences for youth like Abdul through a tax-deductible donation.