by Vicki Heisser |
For Kallen Fitzpatrick, finding Prince William Sound College and its outdoor leadership program was not only a way for him to explore his passion, but it was also a way to process loss and live his life for others.
Kallen first found Prince William Sound College through an Instagram post. “I just thought it'd be a great idea for me because I'm all about camping and snowboarding and I just love being outside and I thought, what better place to do it than here!
Having lived in Denver, Colorado, his entire life, Kallen is no stranger to the outdoors. He grew up loving the mountains. “My family is definitely active. [We did] a lot of family camping. So I've definitely always been out in the Rocky Mountains.” While his hometown and family have influenced Kallen’s choices, so too has his experience with loss.
Sadly, four of Kallen’s close high school friends took their own lives. Going through such an experience deeply impacted Kallen. “I just wanted to kind of live my life for them and do something cool that they won’t get to.” For Kallen, being a part of PWSC’s outdoor leadership program is not only letting him live for them, but it is also helping him live his own dream and process his loss. Kallen shares, “The outdoors are a perfect place for letting your mind wander and just being able to do whatever you want to do and feel.”
Even though Kallen is focusing much of his time on his own learning and outdoor experiences, he always keeps others in mind, and is considering becoming an outdoor educator. “I definitely want to take this to a point where I can teach other people how to enjoy the outdoors and do it very safely.”
There’s no telling where life will take Kallen, but he is motivated and ambitious, just like one of his own role models, snowboarder Martin McMorris. Kallen looks up to McMorris because he found an interest “decided he liked it and went for it, and now he’s one of the best pros out there.”