Out of the classroom and into the wild

A grad’s commitment to changing lives through recreation

A graduate of Recreation and Sport Business with a minor in Speech Communications, Montreal-born Vincent arrived at the University of Waterloo, his first experience at an English-speaking school, from a small French high school in Hamilton, Ontario. Although adjusting to a new language was initially challenging, Vincent credits his professors and academic advisor with providing the support he needed to earn his degree and become an agent of change in the lives of others.

I am very close with the Recreation and Leisure Studies Student Advisor, Sara Houston. She is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about her. We had a saying, “Houston we have a problem”, where you could go into Sara’s office with any issue or problem and by the end of the conversation she would have dealt with it and you’d feel so much better. You could really tell that she cares.

 

Vincent kayaking.

Support inside and outside the classroom

From the guidance he received from his advisor to the commitment of his professors, including Troy Glover, who committed to learning the names of his students in only three weeks, Vincent immediately felt at home within the tight-knit Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

From the beginning, I knew I wasn’t just a number, I was seen as a person, an agent of change for the future. All of my professors were so dedicated and passionate about rec and leisure. You could tell by the way they taught that they wanted us to learn and succeed.

It was there that he decided to dedicate his skills and passion to giving people positive experiences they’ll remember for a lifetime, and as office manager for OWL Rafting on The Ottawa River he does just that. #UWFUTURESHAPERS

Gaining business experience in the outdoor world

A group whitewater rafting.Vincent wears many hats in his position, helping guests create memorable adventures and discover the joy, creativity, and flow that comes from the thrill of whitewater rafting on the Ottawa River. It’s a role he’s familiar with. During his studies, Vincent completed a four-month co-op with OWL Rafting, gaining hands-on experience at the forefront of the tourism industry while applying his classroom learning.

This included the unpredictable nature of the tourism sector, such as weather, which required him to draw on the critical thinking skills he learned at Waterloo as he managed customers, handled feedback and worked to improve the quality of each rafting experience.

As office manager, Vincent is accountable for everything from social media and advertising to the website and on-site store. He also hires staff, does the day-to-day accounting, and manages all guest communications, responsibilities he was well prepared for thanks to his program, which in his words, “touched on every aspect of rec and leisure.”

The program really taught me to critically think through recreational experiences and look beyond the activity – to think about a consumer’s expectations, how to minimize risks and how to make experiences better so it’s not just about the activity, but the outcome.

 

Finding his flow

Vincent having a coffee alongside whitewater rapids.Not only is Vincent meeting his goal to change lives, he has also discovered a personal passion for the magnificence of the Ottawa rapids. An avid whitewater kayaker, he spends any free time he has on the river, where he too finds his flow – an experience he then proudly shares with others.

I feel motivated to go to work because I get to make people’s days and lives more meaningful.

Watch one of Vincent's latest adventures.

Learn more about Waterloo's Recreation and Sport Business major.

All images and video courtesy of Vincent Boyer.