Robin '01, Outdoor Education | Earlham College
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Robin Zinthefer '01

Voyageur Outward Bound School


Robin -ZintheferAt Earlham, what did you major in and in what kinds of activities were you involved?

I was a Biology major, Spanish minor. But I kept myself very busy outside of class. I was a Bonner Scholar (working with the AIDS coalition, the arboretum, and the Girl Scouts), played Varsity basketball (for two years) and was involved with the stables (I competed on the equestrian team, taught AWPE lessons, and was a member of the barn staff). I also led August Wilderness for three years.

What did you do right after graduating from Earlham?

Right after graduation I moved up to Minneapolis (my best friend lived there) and got a job lifeguarding at the YWCA and selling shoes at Midwest Mountaineering. Both were fun places to work. But after two and a half years I decided I wanted to go back to my degree so I got an internship in Florida at the Archbold Biological Station working on community ecology in the Florida Scrub. After the grant that was funding my position was up I decided to give Outward Bound a try, as I had been thinking about working there since graduation and several of my August Wilderness friends were instructors at VOBS.

What are you doing now and what is awesome about it?!

Ten years later, I’m still at Voyageur Outward Bound School, living in Ely, MN. I instruct canoeing, sea kayaking and dogsledding courses. I also am a Course Director and help at rock climbing sites. And to balance it all out, I sometimes do office work and program management. I have stayed at VOBS for so long because it allows me to do something different almost every day and I keep learning. I didn’t know how to dogsled before I got here and now I have been a dog trainer, running dogs, training new lead dogs, and getting them ready for winter. Also, my relationships have grown stronger as I’ve developed my communication and facilitation skills. It is rewarding to have a job where you get to work and travel along side with people with the intent to learn new skills and discover what you are capable of while trying to make connections in the rest of your life. Not to mention the cool staff expeditions I've been able to go on - like Husdon Bay dogsledding!


If you are interested in Robin’s line of work, you can contact her at

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