Matthew Schiffner

by Vicki Heisser  |   

People find themselves at different schools, taking new paths, for a variety of reasons. For Matthew Schiffner, it was a breathtaking Instagram ad and a little push from his brother that led him to Prince William Sound College’s outdoor leadership program.

“I first heard about this program from my brother who found it on Instagram through one of the social media ads. He told me a little bit about it and I decided to do some more research. After I looked into this outdoor leadership program it seemed like it would be something that I would really enjoy.” 

Matt believes his brother has an ulterior motive in motivating him to attend this program, “I think his plan was to get me to go to school so that he wouldn't have to. I would take the classes learning how to do things like rescue and glacier navigation and he would learn from me.” All joking aside, Matt shared that he and his brother always try to motivate and build up each other.

Originally, from a suburb outside of Chicago, Illinois, Matt discovered his enthusiasm for the outdoors when he was a boy scout during his middle school and high school years. “We would go on monthly camping trips. It was during these trips that I was really exposed to the outdoors.” Matt continued his camping adventures beyond his time with the Boy Scouts. Recently, Matt and his brother went on a two-week hike together in California, and this semester Matt went on his first camping trip as a PWSC outdoor leadership student.

When asked about his first camping experience to Gold Creek with his fellow classmates and instructors, Benjamin Rush and Sarah Carter, Matt shares, “It was a lot of fun. We learned some cool new skills. We caught a fish right out of the stream; just grabbed it with our hands. Sarah showed us how to get the fish and cook it up. It was the best salmon I've ever had.” Matt goes on to share, “I wish I had known some of the things that I learned from this class trip when I went camping with my brother, like checking out your camping equipment before starting a trip. My brother and I had some malfunctioning equipment during our hike, had we’d checked out our equipment beforehand, we’d have fixed it.”

For Matt, it was a chance ad on social media that brought him to this new chapter in his life and gave him a chance to live out a dream. Perhaps that is why one of his favorite quotes is this one by Orson Welles: “If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” To Matt, this quote is about persistence. “If things aren’t going your way, you just got to keep trying. And if you try hard enough, eventually you’ll get to the point where you achieve your dreams and they become your reality.”