About the Staff
Dana Olson -- OAC Director
If you're in the Outdoor Office, and someone with blond hair breezes through swinging a monster tea cup, it's Dana Olson. Dana has had a long association with the Outdoor Program, starting work at the Program in 1980, becoming the program's Assistant Director in 1983 and its Director in 1998.
Her great love is whitewater boating. Get her talking about some of her whitewater adventures and watch her face light up. Moreover, you'll hear some amazing stories, for she has run rivers throughout the west and has traveled with her kayak and paddle to Europe, Costa Rica, Alaska and Canada. Well known among professional kayaking circles, she is in demand in the Pacific Northwest as a American Canoe Association Instructor trainer, and has been responsible for building the kayaking program at Idaho State University into one of the top university programs in the country. When Paddler Magazine recently listed what they termed the "nation's best paddling colleges," the ISU program was there.
Her life has always revolved around the outdoors. At one time or another, she has served as the Director of the Snake River Kayak and Canoe School in Jackson, Wyoming. She was co-owner of Warren River Expeditions, an Outfitter and Guide service operating on Idaho's Main Salmon River, the River of No Return. She has also worked for the Caribou National Forest and the Pocatello Parks and Recreation Department.
She frees her heel when she skis, whether touring or downhill--teaches first aid, is tireless worker for environment causes, and is a dedicated volunteer for disabled people involved in outdoor recreation programs. When you are on a trip with Dana, her confidence and experience in the outdoors are apparent, radiating from a calm and collected demeanor. That's one the reason, she's so well liked and respected among students. They feel safe and secure with her whether it's on the river or on a snow-crusted, wind-swept ridge.
But there's another reason, too. She's fun and delightful to be around. It doesn't matter where--around the campfire, playing on a wave, slicing through fresh powder--Dana likes having a good time. One warning, however: if you happen to be someplace with Dana with country music playing, be prepared to shake a leg and hold onto your hat. You're in for a whirlwind.
Dana's Email: email@example.com
Peter Joyce -- Outdoor Recreation Coordinator
Students have climbed with Peter to the heights of the Tetons, remote desert towers, obscure peaks in the Sawtooth, exploring the nooks and cranies of the City of Rocks, and high on the big walls of Yosemite. Backpacking many a mile with Peter, other students have enjoyed the wonders of backcountry hot springs (Idaho has more hot springs than any other state; one of the many reasons Peter chooses to live in Idaho). Those students willing to brave the cold have shared memorable experiences with Peter skiing the mountain ranges of Idaho in search of the elusive Mazama (mountain goat). Peter's love, respect and enthusiasm for the outdoors seems to attract students to his outings and classes.
Peter became a member of the Outdoor Program's full time staff in the spring of 1996. His history in the program, however, goes back much further. He was an active participant in Outdoor Program activities and taught climbing classes in the early 1980s when he was doing his undergraduate work at Idaho State University.
During that time, he started a climbing contest, purely for fun, on the basalt cliffs at Ross Park, a bike ride away from campus. The climbing contest was preceded by a Rainier Beer bottle collecting drive, the proceeds of which helped fund the event. The most memorable picture of the first competition was a Rainier Bottle with legs repelling off the top of the cliff. From those rollicking and humble beginnings grew the Pocatello Pump, now the oldest and one of the largest and most fun climbing competitions in the country.
Peter's background includes a six year stint in the Army at Fort Bragg in the 1st Special Operations Command. He was a Unit Training Supervisor in physical fitness, first aid, rappelling, land navigation and parachute operations, and served as photojournalist in such locales as Korea, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.
Coming back to Pocatello to work at the Outdoor Program was a dream come true for Peter. It was, too, for his wife, Heather. She quickly and easily settled into a job as a veterinarian at Alpine Animal Hospital. Peter and Heather have two teenaged boys, Logan and Colin (Trouble and Troublesome as he affectionately refers to them) that serve as the challenge and joy of their lives.
If the road signs read north or west, you'll likely find Peter travelling along with the Grateful Dead playing on the CD player. One last note about Peter: Contrary to what others may think, he believes there are only two seasons...ski season, and waiting to ski season!
Peter's Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Dayley -- Outdoor Recreation Coordinator
If you are on an Outdoor Program trip and you are awakened by the sound of a fresh pot of cowboy coffee perking on the stove, you can almost be certain that Justin is up. Don’t worry, as soon as his coffee is ready he will be off to find the nearest hot pool and you will be able to sleep in for a few more hours.
Justin got his start with the Outdoor Program back in 1995 co-teaching the Mountaineering class with Dave Fields. In 1998 he took a part time job as a student employee for the Outdoor Program while he was completing his Bachelors of Science in Biology at Idaho State University. After graduating in 2000, Justin became the Interim Director of the Cooperative Handicapped Outdoor Group (CW HOG) at ISU. After serving as the Interim Director for nine months, he became the Director of CW HOG. Justin spent the next year on many wild and crazy adventures with the HOGs. In 2002 Justin left CW HOG to return to the Outdoor Program as the Outdoor Recreation Coordinator.
Justin is involved in instructing many aspects of the Outdoor Education major and Minor at ISU, including mountaineering, caving, ice climbing, wilderness medicine, backpacking, rock climbing, survival, kayaking, rafting, river safety, practical outdoor skills, Dutch oven cooking and team building exercises. In December of 2003 he began teaching for the Wilderness Medicine Institute of the National Outdoor Leadership School.
If Justin is not at his computer in the office you might try looking for him on top of one of the Tetons. He has long had a great love for complex mountain routes, especially if they involve ice climbing. If it is a warm summer day, your best bet is to try and find him on one of Idaho’s wild and scenic rivers. Try looking for the big guy with his legs shoved into the tiny kayak or he might be running the oars of a cata-raft. If it has snowed more than six inches during the night, do not even try to find him in the office because the “snow” rule is in effect. Your best bet is to try and locate him on the backside of Pebble Creek. I hear that his favorite run is Strawberry Fields near Jackson Creek Yurt; you might start looking for him there.
Justin is married to Jerilyn. Together they share the joys of parenting their vivacious daughter, Brooklyn.
If you happen to encounter Justin in the backcountry you are likely to find him riding his trusty steed Rooster. The two of them have shared many adventures from countless yurt and river trips to three ski descents of Mount Leatherman. So next time you are hiking along a trail and see a spotted dog carrying a backpack heading up the trail, you can be sure that Justin is not far behind.
Justin's email: email@example.com
Ron Watters -- Writer in Residence
No one is really quite sure how long Ron Watters has been at the Outdoor Program (now Outdoor Adventure Center) at Idaho State University. If you ask him, he'll never give you a straight answer. We do know that he has been around long enough that he is known to some as Uncle Ron.
We also know that he was co-director of the program in the mid 1970s and became director in the early 80s when "H" Hilbert, the founder of the program left to guide river and fly fishing trips. Ron has done a little of everything with the program: climbed, whitewater kayaked and rafted, back-country skied, backpacked, and administrated (his least favorite activity). He has organized two, month-long ski traverses across the River of No Return, dog sledded and climbed in the Brooks Range of Alaska; run rivers in Alaska including the Alsek River; climbed in the St. Elias Range; and trekked, climbed and kayaked in places like Nepal, Norway, Great Britain and Australia.
He combines his interest in the outdoors along with a passion for writing, having authored six books. The book he's most proud of is Never Turn Back, a biography of the late Walt Blackadar, the flamboyant doctor from Salmon, Idaho who rose to the top of the whitewater world. To help foster good outdoor writing and publishing, he helped put together the National Outdoor Book Awards. He's also been active in the development of the Outdoor Education field, serving on the founding Board of Directors of the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education.
In 1998, he stepped down as director of the program to devote more time to writing. He, however, continues to work part time at the Outdoor Program, editing the program's web page, teaching outdoor education classes for the Department of Physical Education and managing the National Outdoor Book Awards.
He and his wife and wilderness companion, Kathy, live with their two cats and sprite dog in Pocatello. He teaches a map and compass course and stresses the importance of using landmarks to get around. Always practicing what he teaches, he tells people who are trying to find him to look for a landmark: the dumpster at Washington Elementary School. His house is the brick place across from it.
Bob Ellis -- Outdoor Recreation Coordinator
After finally realizing in my early twenties that we have mountains in this area, I have spent the better part of ten years exploring and learning about outdoor adventure. I recently expanded my horizons and love for the outdoors when I participated in my first river trip, which changed my life. I hope to share my passions and build lasting relationships with all participants involved.
Bob's E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy DeRoche -- Administrative Assistant II
Cindy has been playing with the HOGs since 1984. She started working at the HOG office in 1986 and it has been her passion ever since. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Steve, for 30 years. They have a son,2 daughters, a daughter-in-law, 2 son-in-laws and 6 beautiful grandchildren. Photography is one of her hobbies, and she is usually the CW HOG photographer. Other hobbies and activities Cindy enjoys are whitewater rafting, skiing, camping, cooking, and sewing. "Life is good."
Cindy's E-mail: email@example.com