If there’s adventure to be had, Wesley Gibson is all in. This goes double for his education. Wesley completed both the Mountain Adventure Skills Training (MAST) certificate at the College’s Fernie campus and the Adventure Tourism Business Operations (ATBO) diploma at the Golden campus.
“Growing up in Calgary, I spent a lot of time visiting Fernie and knew that the MAST program was held there,” he said. “When I realized that adventure tourism is a legitimate education pipeline, that was reason enough to move to Fernie.”
MAST certificate in hand, Wesley’s desire to expand his knowledge and experience inspired him to move to Golden to complete the ATBO diploma. Well-prepared by the two programs, he had no trouble finding work in the adventure tourism industry after graduation.
“When you come out of the MAST or ATBO programs, you do so with a head start into the tourism industry,” he said. “These programs help students to become strong leaders who also have an understanding of their roles within a company. If your desire is to go on to complete a degree, they can also prepare you for that as they block transfer into degree programs at other institutions. You’re prepared on all fronts – ready to work in the industry or to further your education.”
Choosing to go directly into employment, Wesley worked in a variety of roles before taking the step of opening his own adventure tourism company based out of northern Vancouver Island in 2020. At The Water’s Edge Adventures, is a small company offering multi-day kayak expeditions, self-guided trips, and an off-grid campground. He proudly will be employing four ATBO alumni for the upcoming season.
“They are among the most experienced and talented guides in the area, and they can thank ATBO for helping to build the strong foundation needed to make that happen,” he said.
As he works to become a leader in the adventure tourism industry, Wesley is grateful for the mentoring he received while a student at the College.
“Brian Bell (MAST) and Dave Wan (ATBO) are legit,” he said. “They are the creators of the programs, the granddaddies of the game, and are still actively leading the way and shaping the vision for the future. If you’re interested in adventure tourism, get into one of these programs while you can still learn directly from these legends.”