Why I Went Ape - Jenn Weiland
There is a very specific type of person who embraces a day job that includes wearing a harness and dangling from trees. Learn just what it takes to “Go Ape” for a living in our, “Why I Went Ape” blog series.
This blog is placing the spotlight on our Myrtle Beach Site Manager Jenn Weiland. Take it away Jenn…
First of all, thanks Emily for calling me out! So here we go…
I grew up on a farm in Maine. I think that tells you everything you need to know about why I went to work for Go Ape. Okay, maybe not everything, but it explains why I will never have a traditional desk job. I dread the idea of being trapped behind a desk every day.
All of my jobs have had some connection to the outdoors and physical activity.
I grew up participating in all kinds of sports. I tried just about anything, from basketball, swimming and golf to competitive horseback riding and dance. I also competed in many disciplines of horseback riding, including English dressage and jumping. Being very active in sports also resulted in a lot of coaching opportunities. Coaching is a good fit because I am truly passionate about inspiring people to be more active.
It’s probably no big surprise that coaching and inspiring others is a running theme in most of my employment and life choices. I played golf in college and had the opportunity to play all over the country. I actually worked in the golf industry after college as an international recruiter for a junior golf academy. I am a CrossFit coach and compete in Obstacle Course Races when I have time. Outdoor recreation has definitely become my preferred career vertical.
One benefit of working in outdoor recreation is that you have plenty of opportunities to push yourself both mentally and physically.
Actually, it was the desire to push myself that led me to Go Ape. I was looking for something new to do and I was ready to switch gears from my career in the Golf Industry. I noticed Go Ape as they were building the course here in North Myrtle Beach. I immediately applied and was hired on as a part time instructor.
Go Ape is unique in that you have the chance to interact with different kinds of people, all experiencing something transformative. I love being a part of somebody’s adventure. It’s fulfilling to see somebody’s confidence bloom when they complete or even just give the course a try!
What’s cool is being a part of something that helps people break out of their comfort zones, it just never gets old and I’ve been here for a couple of years.
I’ve been with Go Ape since 2014 and in that time I have moved up from part time instructor to duty manager, to deputy manager and today I am the Site Manager. It’s been a pretty cool ride so far.
I definitely like the position I’m in now, but someday I wouldn’t mind opening up a new course from scratch. It would be like my baby, starting it from day one.
Managing a course is big job, but I have the most amazing team, so it’s fun. They come from all over the country since Coastal Carolina University is right down the road. It’s pretty cool to get to know the different attitudes and perspectives. My Deputy Manager Conan and I are super close too. The entire team shares a love for North Myrtle Beach and the outdoors!
Myrtle is a pretty neat town and I’m lucky to only live ten minutes away from the beach! There is always something going on and who doesn’t love the beach?!
Of course the Go Ape course here in North Myrtle is fantastic. We have two zip lines going over the lake in our park and as a result we get ‘water skiers’ from time to time. Depending on the wind, some of the zip lines can dip people down far enough for guests to hit the water with their feet, hence water skiers. People love it!
Another thing that is unique to North Myrtle is that we have the “Staley’s Steps” on both our Treetop Adventure and Treetop Junior courses. They are really challenging crossings and we have to coach guests through this obstacle a lot. Any obstacle named after Mike Staley (head of construction) better offer a challenge right?
Myrtle is a great place to be, but Go Ape has a lot of awesome locations and we’re expanding every year.
So far I have been to three of our courses; Kansas City, Raleigh and my course, Myrtle Beach. I really want to experience all of our sites to compare them. They are each unique because the local landscape, environment and trees influence the design of the course which is pretty awesome!
I’ve heard some cool things about Oak Point in Plano Texas, so that is on my list to check out.
Probably the best part of visiting other Go Ape locations is meeting the rest of the tribe. We are lucky to have such a close team across the company. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some amazing people over the years, which have grown into really great friendships. I always look forward to getting together.
Which is why I can’t wait for this year’s Go Ape Festival!
I missed the festival last year. Anytime we have the chance to get most of the company together in one spot is a pretty fantastic thing. I really want to go so I can catch up with my friends around the company and meet new members of the tribe as we continue to grow!
Interested in working for Go Ape? Check out our jobs page for the latest and greatest opportunities.