We caught up with former student, Avery, who took part in the Queenstown Adventure Guide Program in Spring 2023 to ask about life after her AGP.
How has life been since you finished up on the Adventure Guide Program?
Life after the program has been nothing short of absolutely amazing. I moved up to Fairbanks, Alaska and I accepted a job with Northern Alaska Tour Company working as a Tour Guide. But not just any Tour Guide, I am a Tour Guide who operates a 25-passenger coach and I drive 200 miles on one of the world’s most dangerous highways all the way up to the Arctic Circle and then I turn around and go right back to Fairbanks. But beyond operating the coach, I’m also giving a tour and sharing the beauty of this region of Alaska with the people who are coming to visit. It is such a rigorous, multi-faceted job that I just absolutely love.
Did doing the AGP prepare you for your job now?
Doing the Adventure Guide Program really prepared me for the challenges I was going to face in this job here in Alaska. Although the program focuses a lot on climbing and hiking and all the skills associated with that, it also gave me so many skills beyond just climbing and hiking so problem-solving skills, the ability to face challenges and grow from the outcome of those challenges, team building, interacting with an area that they’ve never been to before, teaching ability. All of these skills I gained in the Adventure Guide Program, they were skills that I had had before that I hadn’t really perfected until I did the Adventure Guide Program. Definitely in getting the job, having the Adventure Guide Program on my CV was a huge positive for the company especially as they were hiring somebody who was thousands of miles away and asking them to come to Alaska. It gave them a sense of security knowing that I had completed this program that was very rigorous and did give me a lot of skills and so that gave them a lot of peace of mind and definitely helped in choosing me to do this job.
How did life change for you after the Adventure Guide Program?
The answer although it should be a simple one is really not simple. My life changed so much doing the Adventure Guide Program,.The experiences that I had were so unique to this program, the interactions that I had with people that were on our client days, with people that were just in Queenstown, the relationships I’ve built with people that were in my program, with my amazing instructors… It’s just something that I never thought that I’d be able to experience. And the fact that I did is just one of those things that you look back on and you just know you made the right choice. That that was the right thing to do and if you hadn’t of done it, you can’t imagine who you would be right now, so I would say if you’re even thinking about doing the Adventure Guide Program, think about your outcome because it’s going to be pretty damn good.
Any advice for anyone considering this program?
More than anything, trust your gut. You found the Adventure Guide Program for a reason, you looked it up, you read about it, and you’re considering it for a reason. Trust your gut and chase your dreams. You can do nothing but benefit from doing this program. Even if you don’t end up working in the guiding industry afterwards, you gain so many skills that are applicable to many aspects of your life; communication, persistence and the people skills, all of this, these are skills that you might not be able to gain in such a fun environment for the rest of your life. So if you are considering it, just go for it.
Was the cost of the AGP worth it?
I was definitely hesitant. I really thought that it might be too expensive for me. I’m really interested in what the program offers but I don’t really have a ton of money right now so I don’t know, I’ll just schedule a call with one of the advisors and see what I think. I did the call with one of the advisors and she told me all about the program and, of course, I was just getting so excited and I really wanted to do it. But that price tag was really holding me back but I talked to my parents about it and my mom was like, you know how to save your money, you work hard, if you really put your mind to it, you can afford it. So I started working and working and saving all of my money and eventually, I was able to save up enough that I could pay for it.
There were some sacrifices that had to be made before I could come on the Adventure Guide Program, I did have to save some of my pennies a bit more than I otherwise would. It’s totally doable and it’s just so worth it because then you get to spend the next 3 months living a life that so many people only dream of. After the AGP, I got this job here in Alaska as a tour guide and in the 6 months since i’ve been here, I’ve made my money from the Adventure Guide Program back, so the AGP pretty much paid for itself. So, don’t let that price tag scare you!